Newgate Technology, a Scottish-based health software and data collection specialist, has won a tender to deploy a regional theatre management system into 16 hospitals in Northern Ireland.
As part of the project Newgate have begun work on piloting their theatre electronic patient record (EPR) software, a system called Nexus, at the Belfast City Hospital. The initial implementation went live on time in Belfast City Hospital in April and is now being rolled out to all other hospitals in Northern Ireland.
The system has also recently been introduced at the nearby Causeway hospital and will now be subject to a full evaluation before a deployment schedule is finalised for the other 14 sites.
Newgate say that deployments went smoothly – on time and on budget – across both sites and they are working with the two early adopter sites to ‘iron out any creases’.
The Nexus system links all the hospitals via a central spine and has the capability to maintain an EPR for clinical pathways from GP Referral, through the initial consultation, pre-assessment and theatre episode to discharge. The EPR software processes referrals, schedules, consultations, books pre-assessments, books theatres and electronically records everything which happens to the patient..
The information is then stored as an electronic patient record centrally that can be accessed from anywhere in Northern Ireland.
Nexus Patient Knowledge and Booking (PK&B), a clinical PAS solution, maintains patient demographics but also, crucially, keeps a record of clinical patient information including hazards and all past episodes of care.
David Brown, a developer at Newgate, told EHI: “Nexus has been two years in the making and the finished product is an application to facilitate patient bookings across hospitals. The deployment in Belfast City is a first-of-kind and is effectively a prototype pilot to ensure that the master waiting lists and patient records facilities on the system work well and meet the users’ requirements. A full evaluation will be held after a suitable period.”
Nexus will enable patient records for all patients throughout Northern Ireland to be linked to their Health & Care Number (the Northern Ireland equivalent of the NHS Number).
Even if a patient has a number of different hospital records because they have visited
different hospitals, Nexus can enable these to be linked together to form one overall record.
The system has also been designed to integrate with other third party systems, and has been developed to be accessible on mobile devices for clinicians on the move.
Brown said: “Using Nexus the whole patient episode will be recorded in one place, so staff can view anything and everything they need to from one system, with restrictions in place and audit trails used to track access. It can also be used as a resource manager, so staff or equipment can be monitored, and it has a touchscreen facility to help make theatre management much more easy and effective.”
In September, an updated version of Nexus is due to be launched, which will provide full 18-week management capabilities. This will enable hospitals to monitor and manage the patient’s progress from initial referral through to treatment on a milestone control basis.
Newgate’s project manager, Hilary Tulloch, told EHI: “This is a great example of how a nationwide system where every patient can be booked into any hospital for any kind of care with their records instantly available electronically wherever they are, can be achieved.
“The idea is that if a patient who has undergone surgery at Belfast City Hospital is taken into Altnagelvin Hospital then clinicians at Altnagelvin have immediate access to their operating theatre records including staff and procedure notes and so on. This will help to save time and make patient care a lot more effective in this small country.”
Newgate hope the success in Northern Ireland will help them with more installations in their native Scotland as well as in England, alongside offerings from the National Programme for IT.