IT news: News round-up


The latest deployment and solutions news from the healthcare IT sector

Every cloud...

PLANS for a new platform providing cloud computing services to public sector organisations are gathering pace after months of uncertainty. The Cabinet Office has announced the first procurement exercise for the G Cloud system, with plans to have it in place by Christmas. Chris Chant, executive director at the Cabinet Office and G Cloud programme director, said: “I expect within the next week a new cloud framework will be announced that we expect to be in place before Christmas to enable SMEs in particular and cloud providers to more easily get their services across to government.” The Cabinet Office has revealed the first framework for cloud services will last for no more than nine months.

More power to the NHS

THE NHS is increasing its N3 national broadband network capability to 5Gbps and improving traffic prioritisation. With one million users, the system carries 250 terabytes of data every month, but up until now only had a capacity of 3Gbps. Under the new system, traffic is prioritised according to clinical and business need using a solution from Zscaler, with emergency communications being deal with soonest. John Abbott, chief executive of N3 at BT, said the upgrade was delivering a ‘faster, more sophisticated internet service for the NHS and an improved capability for accessing healthcare applications.”

Homerton discharge pilot a success

HOMERTON Hospital is leading the NHS in developing a new automated system for recording key information for patients requiring continuing care after discharge from hospital. The automated forms have been developed by the hospital’s discharge planning team as a way to make the whole process more user friendly for staff. Michele Stenning, acute discharge planning service lead, said: “Assessing the continuing care needs of patients can be a key process in ensuring appropriate care arrangements are in place following discharge.. We developed an automated system on our computers and piloted its use on a shared folder with the regional neurological rehabilitation unit, Mary Seacole Nursing Home and community health services, beginning the project in August last year. The system allows for automatic copying of necessary, but repetitive, information. It’s simple, user friendly and can be easily adapted for use by other important areas such as social services.” The system is now being rolled out across the whole hospital, followed by other London trusts.

Rape support app is unveiled

STAFF at a rape support service in London have developed a phone app for men, women and young people who have experienced sexual violence. The Reducing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After Sexual Assault app was designed by the Haven Paddington, a service based at St Mary’s Hospital. It provides information on getting help, managing post trauma symptoms, and the services available.

Service manager, Marion Winterholler, said: “From a health perspective I feel we need to recognise the traumatic impact of rape much more as a contributor to ill health. This app will provide an interactive tool for finding out what to do in an emergency, how to reduce the impact of emotional trauma, and where to go for help. As it can be used in private I believe it will open up new ways of supporting recovery.” The app idea was submitted by the Haven team following a call from Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, for ideas for new health apps that would help patients make more informed decisions about their care.

Award for eHandover solution

AN ELECTRONIC handover system designed by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has won a national award for improving patient safety. The eHandover system, which centralises patient information and clearly allocates actions to specific clinicians, was named the winner of the ‘Best Use of IT to Promote Patient Safety’ category at the EHI 2011 Awards. Aklak Choudhury, the trust’s clinical director for acute medicine, who helped develop the system, said: “We are very pleased and excited that the eHandover solution won the patient safety category. The solution is the first to identify and successfully manage the shift gap issue which can result in significant communication failure and patient risk. We are all very excited. It has the potential to standardise handover across hospital trusts in the UK.”

Rollout for patient record system

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A WEB portal allowing online access to patients’ records has been rolled out to people with long-term conditions at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB). MyHealth was developed by UHB’s IT team and trialled by 12 liver patients for a year. It allows patients to view and add to information about their medical history, appointments, medication and test results and can be accessed through any internet connection, including smartphones. Daniel Ray, the trust’s director of informatics, said: “It allows patients to have greater sight of their own care records and puts patients at the centre of their care. It fits with the principle of 'no decision about me without me'.”