IT news: News round-up

The latest deployment and solutions news from the healthcare IT sector

Mental health charity upgrades systems

ST ANDREWS, a charitable provider of secure mental health services, has saved £135,000 as a result of upgrading its wireless IT infrastructure. The company commissioned Comtact to develop a new system that could be tailored to its specific requirements. The resulting solution incorporates indoor and outdoor real-time location services, IP voice with presence, advanced security, a pager network, voice communication, ‘man down’ alarms and asset tracking. IT director, Paul Kirkpatrick, said: “Before the upgrade we relied on infrared solutions, which can be easily blocked. Our aim was to replace this with a Wi-Fi solution which would utilise real time location services, thereby helping us keep track of personnel in our facility.” At the heart of the system is Motorola's RFS7000 Wireless (Wi-NG) architecture and AirDefense intrusion prevention software, running over a fully-integrated HP switched LAN with multiple VLANS. Alongside this, Comtact has installed server-switch distributed trunking and remote intelligence monitoring, coupled with Cisco’s call manager IP Telephony system.

New solution aimed at FTs

MEDEANALYTICS has announced the launch of FT Navigator, a performance management solution aimed at foundation trusts and NHS organisations striving to gain foundation status. A hosted solution designed to address the specific needs of acute providers, it offers comprehensive reporting and analysis delivered through four modules covering finance, resource utilisation, activity, and outcomes, presenting a view of quality, efficiencies and financial measures across inpatient, outpatient and A&E settings. Paul Fitzsimmons, managing director, said: “FT Navigator is intended to be used by non-technical, clinical and financial management users. The solution will enable trusts to identify bottlenecks in the system, redesign services and address unwarranted variations to improve the efficiency and quality of their patient care. Most importantly, trusts will be able to make decisions based on evidence, rather than subjective antidotal information.” Jill Price, Deputy director of finance at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, added: “It allows all employees to quickly drill into high-level information right down to an individual patient level via a visual dashboard display or report, providing daily insight into the clinical and financial metrics to guide foundation trusts through their data analysis requirements precisely.”

Soldier invents innovative burns app

A FORMER soldier has invented an app that could save the lives of burns victims, both in combat and in hospitals around the world. Chris Seaton, a former captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, who is currently a PhD student studying computer science and The University of Manchester, created the iPad app after witnessing the horrific burns suffered by fellow soldiers. He was helped by Rowan Pritchard Jones and Professor Paul McArthur, plastic surgeons at St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust and academics at the University of Liverpool. The invention recently won a £5,000 prize at the NHS North West Health Innovation and Education Cluster Excellence in Innovation Awards 2011. He said: “There is great possibility for creating really innovative technology by pairing up small touch-screen devices with medicine. Even simple ideas can make a big difference and all it takes is a doctor getting together with a computer scientist to make it a reality.” The app works by improving the chance of survival after a burns injury through calculation of the correct amount of fluids that should be given. Early indications show it reduces the margin of error by a third compared to traditional pen and paper calculations.

Private hospital deploys PAS solution

A PRIVATE hospital in Northern Ireland is to deploy InterSystems Ensemble solution to help reduce costs by consolidating patient records. The Mater Private is the country’s only independent hospital that provides 24-hour intensive care and anaesthetic services. By introducing Ensemble, it will have a seamless platform for the integration and development of connectable applications, which will help to streamline work processes, reduce duplication, improve data quality and deliver more cost-effective and improved patient care. Commenting on the move, the hospital's lab and IT business analyst, David Delaney, said: “Rolling out Ensemble has taken us closer to the ‘holy grail’ for healthcare IT: comprehensive electronic patient records. Our problems were familiar to many hospitals in that every department had its own systems. Using Ensemble as our integration platform provides us with the in-house to bring everything together by integrating our systems with relative ease.” The hospital is currently testing a bespoke interface that will link the patient administration system with its customer relationship management programme to match referral information against future marketing activities. It is also reviewing how Ensemble web browser-based dashboards displaying real-time data could help with the day-to-day management of the hospital, showing information such as the number of daily admissions and discharges and identifying trends.

Award for VT risk assessment tool

A TEAM from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust has won a national award for developing a computer tool to help prevent blood clots in hospital patients. The colour-coded software allows staff to see at a glance whether or not a risk assessment for venous thromboembolism has taken place and has enabled the trust to become one of the first in the country to achieve the Government’s target of risk assessing 90% of adult patients. Dr Oliver Chapman, consultant haematologist at the trust and leader of the multi-disciplined team that created the tool, said: “As a team we are proud of what we have achieved in improving patient safety. To win this prestigious award when we were nominated with other high-profile organisations is simply fantastic. The whole team is thrilled.”

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