IT news: News round-up

South West trusts renew performance network contract

NHS South West strategic health authority (SHA) and the regional primary care trust (PCT) cluster have extended their Performance Network contract with supplier, MedeAnalytics, for a further two years. The programme, run jointly by MedeAnalytics and HFMA Commercial Services (HCS), provides the 13 PCTs and SHA with access to web-based analytics and reporting to help track delivery and services against national and local data sets. The project also provides an educational stream of thought leadership articles, web-based discussion forums and seminars aimed at disseminating best practice. Martin Walsh, director of HCS, said: "We are delighted that NHS commissioners and the SHA have renewed their contracts. This confirms their confidence in the contribution of the network to support a collaborative approach to measuring and monitoring QIPP priorities." Paul Fitzsimmons of MedeAnalytics added: "The programme is structured so that each PCT can quickly identify upon which key performance indicators they are positioned as an outlier and then drill down into their own practice and patient-level data to find the underlying reason for this. They can then use further system features to run forecasts and set alerts to help them pro-actively manage or monitor their improvement."

Workforce management just got easier

NHS workforce management solutions provider, SMART, has launched a new product aimed at empowering hospital managers to make decisions based on accurate, real-time information. Real Time Hospital is a support system that promotes safe patient care and the safe deployment of staff, ultimately helping to reduce costs and improve patient safety. It has been designed to provide up-to-the-minute information including potential issues with staffing levels, skills mix, nurse/patient acuity ratios, permanent/agency staff ratios and unplanned absence. Nick Whiteley, managing director of the health market at SMART, said: "Providing quality care for patients is top priority for all NHS trusts. However, managers are often in the position of taking decisions that impact patient care with very little supporting information. Real Time Hospital has been designed to directly address this issue by supplying detailed information to support decision-making via a web dashboard that can be deployed anywhere."

Sleep apnea app for cardiologists unveiled

ROYAL Philips Electronics has created the world's first sleep apnea mobile app for cardiologists. The innovation, unveiled at the 2011 Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in Paris, will provide clinicians with a glimpse of future devices and practices designed to advance cardiac care, including the management of cardiovascular disease. "Philips has been a consistent game-changer in the area of healthcare for almost 100 years, developing innovative and integrated patient-focused solutions, including some of the earliest X-ray technologies," said Joris van den Hurk, general manager of cardiology care at Philips. "At ESC we wanted to highlight our vision of how future innovation will enable care-givers to transform the way cardiovascular disease is managed at each stage - from early detection and diagnosis, to hospital treatment and healthcare at home, in order to reduce the burden of cardiac disease for patients, doctors and society at large."

NHS Choices pilots new tool

WEST Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is piloting a new mobile commenting tool from NHS Choices, allowing patients to text their feedback about Watford General Hospital. Natalie Forrest, director of nursing and patients' champion at the trust, said: "As a progressive trust we want to make it easier for patients to let us know what they think, as it's only through patient feedback about the services we offer that we can strive to make improvements where necessary. That's why we're pleased that NHS Choices has chosen to pilot its innovative mobile commenting tool with us."

Pharmacy and medicines system deployed in Lancs

A NEW web pharmacy solution and electronic medicines management system has been rolled out at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. The Ascribe technology replaces old paper-based systems, providing a continuous flow of information between prescribing, pharmacy and site administration processes, including stock management and finance. Amanda Parkinson, lead pharmacist, said: "Turnaround time from the discharge prescription being written to the patient being discharged has reduced from one day to an hour and the user-friendly interface allows staff to record exactly the required level of information needed by GPs and meets their reporting requirements."

Security boost for Trafford trust

TRAFFORD Healthcare NHS Trust has boosted security with the introduction of Imprivata OneSign across three sites. Covering around 1,000 clinical staff, the software controls access to critical applications including electronic medical records, providing authentication of users. It has been deployed alongside nearly 1,400 chip-and-pin cards aimed at combating user account sharing. Steve Parsons, head of information management and technology at the trust, said: "Through this project we have been able to provide fast access to patient information while eliminating the temptation for users to write down or share account information, allowing the trust to met guidelines set out in the Information Governance Toolkit."

COPD records system rolled out in Essex

AN INTEGRATED electronic patient record system for patients with COPD has been developed by NHS South East Essex using SystmOne software. Clinicians at Southend University Hospital are now able to access and update COPD records held on GP systems with the patient's consent, and can then share the information with community services using email. David Allan-Smith, the PCT clinical lead for the National Programme for IT in the NHS, said: "We've had about three or four patients who have refused to share their record, but the vast majority have. In the long-term the only areas where we have an issue is the practices that aren't on SystmOne. Other than that, potentially we could have a single electronic record across primary, secondary and community care."

ALSO IN THE NEWS:

Philips has launched its latest multimodality cardiology image management, analysis and reporting solution, Xcelera R3.2

A new App is giving wheelchair users the chance to access the worldwide web through their onboard controls. iPortal Accessibility from Dynamic Control allows people with limited or no hand control to make phone calls, surf the internet, plan routes and gain full access to the online world through its established wheelchair control systems.

Ascribe's symphony emergency department clinical solution has gone live at Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The system is designed to provide access to clinical information at the point of care.

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