Rotas in a Collaborative Digital Ecosystem: Autumn 2022 Forum

Rotamap held its Autumn Event on Friday 30th September 2022 at the RSA in London. The theme of the event was "Rotas in a Collaborative Digital Ecosystem”, and was our first in-person event since autumn 2019. The event included talks from the Rotamap team and guest speakers: Dr Nick Wisely, who discussed recent integration work between CLWRota and EPIC at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, as well as Eve Malcolm and Emily Taylor who discussed their rollout of All Doctor Rostering and its impact across East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

The event provided an opportunity for current and prospective users to learn more about Rotamap's best-in-class rostering services, which can be deployed across an entire organisation via our All Doctor Rostering arrangement. By using common data standards and open APIs our services can also exist as part of an organisation's wider digital ecosystem, empowering departments to work seamlessly between multiple software systems, and assist them in achieving all 4 levels of NHSEI's Levels of Attainment.

Rotamap's Joel and Iona introduced the event by explaining how software providers like us can build their software to be used as part of a healthy digital ecosystem that has collaboration at its core: working together through a set of common data standards and open APIs. This is essential to build a resilient and efficient NHS; a group of highly specialised and effective software providers collaborating seamlessly with one another, while excelling in their niche. All of this is done through the use of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), which were introduced in our first talk of the day.

Watch Rotamap's introduction

Watch Rotamap's introduction to the autumn 2022 event

Rotamap's Jacob Kirk introduced the concept of interoperability in more detail by providing an overview of APIs. Jacob's talk, APIs 101, demystified what an API is and the potential they hold to make the working lives of teams in the NHS easier and more efficient. Jacob explained the complexities of translating information from different systems into a common language, and how important communication between providers and clients is to understand how best to craft this language. NHSEI's initiative to publish standardised API specifications is designed to aid in this process, allowing data to flow smoothly between providers. Jacob discussed Rotamap's approach to API design, with a focus on collaborative development. This approach is the backbone of many of our new features, detailed later by Henry.

Guest speaker Dr Nick Wisely (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust) gave a fascinating account of his hospital's early adoption of the first ever offering of CLWRota. Nick recounted working with Rotamap to create a digital solution to replace paper-based rotas, which at the time required a Consultant be removed from clinical work a full day per week. The Wythenshawe went live with CLWRota in 2007 and continues to use it to this day.

Having merged from two smaller NHS Trusts in 2017, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has been actively deploying a new Electronic Patient Records system. Dr Nick Wisely spoke about how they were able to work closely with Rotamap to set up an API that would take information directly from CLWRota and feed it into the new system, allowing their anaesthetic team to see their rota and patient records side-by-side.

Watch Nick Wisely's talk

Watch Nick Wisely's talk

Rotamap's Jonathan Stickland presented his findings on pre-COVID-19 theatre delivery versus current theatre delivery, using data obtained from departments using our services. The NHS Elective recovery planning guidance aims to address the backlog in elective procedures by setting a target of 104% pre-pandemic delivery. However, we are currently only seeing a 1% increase on pre-pandemic levels. Jonathan showed how almost all departments were making significantly increased use of Extra sessions, but that these gains were eroded almost completely; possibly by a 23% increase in unplanned leave.

Twice a year Rotamap provides our client hospital organisations with a benchmark pack, which presents data allowing departments to understand their service delivery, contextualised by the anonymised service delivery of their peers. This allows departments to see where they stand in relation to their peers, prompting healthy discussion about where these differences originate, and share their first-hand experience at the event. Rotamap rosters over 85% of anaesthetists at NHS acute hospitals; and it was this data that Jonathan used for his talk, and you can read about it here.

Rotamap's Henry Wyrley-Birch gave a run through of the many new features we've been developing and releasing over the last 6 months. This includes integration with SARD that allows users to view Job Plan summary information, and the newly released Group Summary View for CLWRota. This feature allows rota masters to view a month's snapshot of the work being delivered by clinicians, and to note areas that require attention. This kind of aerial view, with per-session granular detail, will provide rota masters with unique insight into their department's operations at a glance. In the next iteration of the feature, we'll introduce the ability to make instant assignments to fulfil unmet demand, allowing administrators to make updates at speed.

Henry also talked through numerous improvements made to our reporting capabilities. This includes reports at the departmental level, which can be viewed and downloaded by rota masters as needed, as well as improvements to Central Reporting and Organisation Wide Service Reports, which provide an overview of work being done across an organisation. This ability to interrogate data at a federated, departmental level, as well as a wide-scope organisational level, is now a fundamental part of our services. Henry explained how our Central Reporting service further acts as an information hub, facilitating the flow of data from our services to third parties such as ESR via an API.

All Doctor Rostering incorporates all of Rotamap's services in a cohesive organisation-wide system.

Lunch was supplied and provided an opportunity Rotamap and Trust staff to mingle

Guest speakers Eve Malcolm and Emily Taylor, from East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, gave a fantastic presentation on their rollout of All Doctor Rostering. Together, they have managed to roster over 84% of medical staff within their trust in an impressively short space of time.

Eve and Emily explained that they made such quick progress rolling out Rotamap's All Doctor Rostering services across their trust by collaborating closely with our team of experts, even noting that Rotamap's researchers "feel like an extension of our team”. The pair discussed how, by prioritising the use of Medirota's leave system, they could immediately feel one of the many benefits of All Doctor Rostering; its integration with ESR. Eve and Emily described how they used Submittals to dramatically reduce the administrative load of sending data to ESR. They were able to provide sage advice to other Trusts when it comes to rapid deployment of our services, particularly providing constant feedback and implementing a standardised approach.

Watch Eve and Emily's talk

Watch Eve and Emily's talk

The presentations were capped off by Rotamap's Adam Cansfield, who introduced the highly anticipated Staging project, recently released on CLWRota, with a Medirota release planned shortly after. Designing a fair and equitable rota can be a challenging task, especially with the high turnover of junior-doctor rotations. By the time a rota is designed, key information may have changed, and work is often duplicated when the designed rota is added to the live one. Adam demonstrated how Staging addresses these challenges by creating a safe sandbox for rota masters to design new rotas without affecting the existing rota, all while using live and up-to-date information. Adam showed how new rotas can be designed with all of this live data, how users can be warned of conflicts with the existing rota well in advance, and how this new design can be imposed on the active rota with the click of a button.

It was a real pleasure to welcome guests to our first in-person event in 3 years, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

We provide videos of the event's presentations upon request; if you are interested in watching them or have any questions about All Doctor Rostering, please contact us at or call +44 020 7631 1555.


The agenda for the event was as follows:

  1. Welcome and introduction

    Iona Wickens and Joel Moore, Rotamap

  2. APIs 101

    Jacob Kirk, Rotamap

  3. Guest speaker

    Dr Nick Wisely, Consultant Anaesthetist, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

  4. Data and reports

    Jonathan Stickland and Jacob Kirk, Rotamap

  5. New features

    Henry Wryley-Birch, Rotamap

  6. Guest speakers

    Eve Malcolm, eRostering Systems Lead and Emily Taylor, Medical eRostering Project Specialist, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

  7. Junior doctor rota design

    Adam Cansfield, Rotamap

  8. Drinks reception

    A chance to catch-up on the day with other service users and Rotamap staff