Birmingham City Hospital NHS Trust has become the first trust in England to deploy a fully web-based, end-to-end, enterprise-wide clinical system to every desktop in the hospital.

The new web-based clinical information system, developed by health IT supplier iSoft builds on early in-house development work carried out by the trust, and is based on the latest Microsoft technology.

The system is now available to doctors and nurses working in all departments at Birmingham City Hospital, including 40 wards, Accident and Emergency and Outpatients.

Crucially the new system uses the latest web-based technology to provide clinicians with the clinical information they need, when and where they need it. Based entirely on the latest Microsoft .NET technologies and using XML to integrate patient, clinical and laboratory information, iCC can be accessed using either a desktop PC or mobile computing devices.

Tim Atack, director of IM&T at Birmingham City Hospital NHS Trust, described the implementation of the new system as “a massive step forward for City.”

He added: “The iSoft Clinical Centre is part of our achievement of an Electronic Patient Record, in line with the Government’s plans for health service modernisation and with our own care improvement strategy. We have worked in close partnership with iSoft to ensure a system has been delivered that completely matches our needs.”

Dr Bob Ryder, consultant physician and clinical IT lead at City added: “I use iCC’s web pages many times a day to help with reports and preparation. Readily available clinical information has already directly resulted in cost savings and improved quality of care for my patients.

Dr Ryder said the new web-based integrated clinical system will fundamentally change the way doctors practise. "There is a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement amongst City’s clinicians – from consultants to juniors – for the benefits that this kind of innovation offers.”

The key to the new iCC system is to provide clinicians with the information they need, where they need it, through a completely modern, innovative platform.

Based on iSoft’s Patient information Management System (PiMS) infrastructure, iCC is a web-based portal for doctors and nurses providing not only patient information in PiMS and integrated departmental systems but also Internet or intranet clinical knowledge resources and tools.

The system is structured around a typical tabular format for patient notes to enable easy familiarisation, while a ‘single click’ web approach saves time and makes navigation easier.

According to iSoft the results of the first mobile device trial at City Hospital have been very promising. “Information available at the point of care during a ward round can make the difference between an early patient discharge or an extra night in hospital. There are huge implications for cost efficiency and effectiveness," explained Dr Ryder.

"Similarly, having the electronic patient record with clinical letters and lab results instantly available online on the desk in outpatients greatly enhances the service to patients. It is no longer such a problem if the ordinary medical notes are not available. Even if I have the paper-based medical notes, I usually find it is quicker to look the lab result up on the computer."

iSoft says that because iCC uses web technology the system provides a high return on investment. Thin client technology enables users to access iCC from lower specification computers, with only browser software installed on the individual machines. The thin client approach is also claimed to reduce deployment costs, as upgrades can be carried out centrally as part of City’s Managed Services contract with iSOFT.

Dr Chris Tackaberry, Head of Clinical Applications R&D at iSoft added, “iCC has been developed by a dedicated team of clinical professionals working closely with our customers to ensure that the product reflects their needs.” He described the system as a beacon to any trust wanting to dramatically improve their access to information.