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Warwick to use iPads for patient records

14 March 2012   Chris Thorne

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has signed a five-year contract with Kainos to digitise all of its patient records and make them available to staff on iPads.

The trust hopes to give staff mobile access to its systems by the end of the year, using Apple iPad devices. The iPads will give staff the ability to access and update a patient’s record at the point of care during a clinic, or a visit to a patient’s home.

The trust published an ICT strategy for 2011-14 in June last year, which said it wants to create a paper-light environment and improve mobile working, especially among its community staff.

It has now signed a contract with Kainos for Evolve, a document management system that automates the creation, capture, handling and distribution of notes and other records, which it hopes to deploy by July this year.

Duncan Robinson, associate director of ICT at the trust, said: “Even with the best medical records library in the world, reliance on paper-based patient notes is far from efficient.

“Paper can’t be in two places at once. We don’t want to be having to find storage for more paper and we want our clinicians to have the ability to access our records electronically.”

The trust will use an in-house scanning department, which will be designed by Kainos. Robinson told eHealth Insider that once the first stage of the project has been completed the trust will explore mobile working.

Robinson told EHI that important and sensitive patient information will be held on the iPad for a minimum amount of time before being sent back to a central server.

“We want to be mindful of all the data risks and we want to be able to work offline safely and securely. Apple’s encryption offers very strong security.”

The trust, which runs hospitals in Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon, absorbed Warwickshire Community Health from the local primary care trust in April 2011.

However, Robinson said the acute trust had provided IT services to the community provider before the merger, and had already been looking at improving access to its systems.

He said the big issue to tackle was 3G connectivity, given the rural area in which many community staff work. But he was confident that the partnership with Kainos would create a platform that could overcome this, using a combination of synchronised online and offline working.

The trust chose Specialist Computer Centres as its prime contractor, and used one of the government’s procurement frameworks to reduce procurement time.

However, Robinson said it picked Kainos after numerous presentations and site visits. Robinson said: “The opportunity to build a relationship was crucial and they are keen to do more work in the NHS.”

Deirdre O’Neill, head of Kainos Evolve said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust on such a forward-looking initiative.”

 

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Related Articles:

News: Countess of Chester latest Kainos site | 3 February 2012
News: Bradford uses Kainos EDM as step to EPR | 19 December 2011
3 News: Ipswich chooses Kainos for casenotes | 23 November 2009
Last updated: 14 March 2012 10:32

© 2012 EHealth Media.


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Does "free wifi" run over N3?

Mary Hawking 122 weeks ago

Just asking.

From a GP practice perspective, N3 often runs very slowly - and GPs (even with remote servers) seem to be at the bottom of the pile for bandwidth.

Does the use of iPads for community access via G3 or the use of "free" wifi in hospitals impinge on the access for GP IT systems which are based on remote servers running over N3 such as EMIS Web and TPP?


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FaceTime

mlysons 122 weeks ago

I used Apple's FaceTime tech last year to talk to someone in hospital as the hospital had free wi-fi.

Given that iPad 2 onwards has FaceTime* capabilities, perhaps there's mileage in getting intra-hospital communications going.

* Other video conferencing services are available.


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Free WiFi for hospitals

Jon Hoeksma 123 weeks ago

I think that the idea of free WiFi in hospitals is a really good one. How much would it actually cost a hospital to do?

I think that NHS hospitals have a long and slightly unfortunate record of historically putting up unnesccessary barriers to patients using their mobile phones or other mobile devices. In part this was down to concerns about interference with medical devices - which has pretty much been laid to rest.

A big part of it was about trying to protect antiquated ideas of charging premium prices for patients to use bedside entertainment services, including phones.

But the potential of providing patients with health information, education, online sercices, or encouraging them to use patient feedback tools or other Health 2.0 is huge. And WiFi could be a big enabler.

On patient feedback for instance why not a QR code that patients scan with their own smartphone (when they have one - and of course many don't but lots do) and takes them into a Patient Opinion style app of video clip. Same could apply for a video clip of a procedure they are about to receive or information for post discharge.


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Technology is fine, but best use of money- not sure

John Aird 123 weeks ago

Yes, the mobile phone argurment was laid to rest ages ago. Today many trusts will have hospital-wide, if not campus-wide wireless networks, quite a few i would guess to RFID/tracking saturation. So providing such a use is probably less a technical issue than is affording the handsets and underlying applications running over the wireles-net. Perhaps the main deciding discussion is on what is affordable and what represents the best use of resources.


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Back on trak

CertaCitrus 123 weeks ago

Will be interesting to see how this pans out.

From what I can gather this is a document storage/cloud solution, which is going to be bandwidth heavy if portable - unless the iPads are going to be mostly used as USB sticks and doc viewers.

Rather suspect this is too band width heavy, it would be better just to send the clinical information in coded form rather than the Base64 coded word docs, etc.

It's similar to listening to my iTunes via the cloud on the A74(M), very poor service used up my entire MB location for the month and I've since reverted to turning mobile data off.. Facebook, was fine though - lower bandwidth, better mobile design.


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Size matters :-)

DaveJ 123 weeks ago

"Private hospital seem to know something the NHS does not" - indeed it does - a small environment with almost total control of public access and a minute patient population. The main issue I can envisage with large NHS hospitals and free WiFi is the amount of available bandwidth and as Mr Defoe rightly points out the number of people passing through large NHS hospitals on a d aily basis.

Just to throw a different light on things, call me an old fuddy duddy but is can you really class a few days without access to Facebook and twitter as being social isolation?


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Not just Facebook and Twitter

johnpopham 123 weeks ago

It's not just about Facebook and Twitter, but those are very important, particularly for younger people, for whom those are often the main way they communicate with friends and family.

What about programmes such as Skype, which allow free communication with anyone, anywhere in the world? I've been told about one example where the family of an elderly patient in a hospital with free wifi kept a Skype connection open to her permanently, allowing them to speak to her whenever they needed to. And it's not just relatives. Doctors and consultants could be using these ways of talking to patients, meaning that they didn't have to wait for the infrequent ward rounds.

I think we often suffer from a perception that social media and new technologies are primarily frivolous pursuits. There are many vital functions that can be carried out quicker, more cheaply, and more efficiently using modern communications methods.


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Why A&E?

CertaCitrus 123 weeks ago

Agree with the comment about private hospitals, it's not exactly free is it.

But why should A&E get free wifi access. Wards are a different matter, especially when patients are in for more than a week or so. I suspect Jon is quoting wifi on wards not in public places


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A&E contains trapped members of the public

PhilT 122 weeks ago

"But why should A&E get free wifi access" - to serve all those folks that find themselves trapped there for several hours having delivered a relative or friend etc, or waiting for an appointment, or whatever other reasons there are for A&E having de rigeur waiting times measured in hours.

Simples. We can do useful stuff if we're connected, not just sit bored out of our tree.


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Connectivity

johnpopham 123 weeks ago

I really hope this initiative succeeds. It does however, highlight the issues of connectivity, both in health care premises and in rural areas.

On the former, I have long been campaigning for free wifi in hospitals, which would address the social isolation of patients as well as allow for connectivity for health and admin devices. There is a Facebook group on this at http://www.facebook.com/groups/269721299101/

On rural connectivity, devices like the WiBE would be able to help. See johnpopham.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/cant-get-online-week-the-amazing-wibe/


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Free? No

StormOne 123 weeks ago

A number of Trusts seem to be piggy backing BT Openzone or WiFi Spark on the back of their wifi networks.

Not free, so no freeloaders, but it can be reasonably priced.

I don't think you can argue if it is not too pricey.


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Free wi-fi in hospitals

Daniel Defoe 123 weeks ago

John, the few experiments where "free wi-fi" has been trialled in hospitals found that places like A&E and hospital waiting areas and cafes quickly became meeting places for groups of "downloaders" making use of the availability for various nefarious and doubtful activities. And before you suggest "let staff manage password access for patients like they do in hotels", don't.


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Looks as though access is being policed

Daniel Defoe 123 weeks ago

John, at your suggestion, I've looked at your URL. It seems to me (in relation to the comments about Pinderfields) that access is being restricted/policed so that it's not available to "anybody off the street". That's great provided the resources are made available to do this, and it's not another task loaded on to ward staff - as was the case with "free" hospital televisions and PAYG telephones.

Of course, private hospitals are in a better position to police access, and tend not to suffer from walk-in access.

The hospitals you've cited are not alone in providing free wi-fi access (and in some cases laptops on loan) to selected groups of patients, and many long-stay or "regulars" facilities have "zoned" access provided and policed by Trust IT Departments. The problem comes when you try to make it "free-for-all".


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I disagree

johnpopham 123 weeks ago

I'm not sure your experience accords with that of some of the places, like Pinderfields in Wakefield, and the Bradford hospitals which are successfully using free wifi. See here for some background wp.me/ppLRZ-hg While I have been researching this, I have only found a small minority of NHS hospitals that provide free wifi, but I have yet to find a private hospital that doesn't. Private hospitals seem to know something the NHS does not.


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