The NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) has replaced four different systems it previously used with a single National Breast Screening System (NBSS).

Benefits of the new system include making it easier for NHS staff to making and change appointments and clinicians are able to enter data directly using the software.

The new system, provided by Financial Objects and InterSystems, has been deployed across all 90 screening offices in England with 1000 NHS staff using the software.

NHSBSP uses the system to help ensure it can offer all women aged between 50 and 70 routine breast screening appointments, and more easily provide reports to the DH on the performance of the national screening programme.

The national breast screening programme began in 1988 but previously used a multi-screen system that was difficult to report against Department of Health targets. The new single-screen system, however, is easier to use and allows reports to be created in minutes.

Sarah Cush, assistant director of NHSBSP, said: “The NHS Breast Screening Programme is continually looking to take advantage of developments in new technology. The upgraded NBSS system enhances the quality and efficiency of the service we provide to women, by making data more accessible and improving the reporting facilities for staff.”

Using Crystal Reports, managers are also able to easily extract data and present it in reports to the government. Solomon said this “now takes minutes rather than hours.”

David Solomon, NBSS project manager for Financial Objects, told E-Health Insider: “NBSS wanted to rid themselves of the four different applications they were using in favour of a national system, keeping the same functionality, but a system that will bring the service into the 21st century and would be less time-consuming than before.

Soloman said the said making and changing appointment information is far easier with the new system. "Clinicians can also enter data directly into the system, and appointments can be prompted using queries to ensure that NHSBSP are meeting their DH targets for inviting women to have their breasts screened every three years.”

Development work on the project began in early 2004 and has included migrating different databases using Intersystems Cache technology. Data was imported from Connecting for Health’s MEDIFACT database, which is updated on a daily basis.

Solomon said: “We obtained the national database of women from CfH to ensure that any woman who needs to be invited is, and by re-writing the code, we managed to get it accommodated into the Caché solution and have it available for any authorised breast screening staff member to look at.

“Since completing, we have also been able to extend the technology so that clinicians can enter details directly into the system from any location by connecting to the NBSS network, so admin staff do not have to reenter paper files anymore, and a record is obtainable three years down the line when the patient is recalled.”

The system also supports the use of barcode scanners and touch screens for rapid data entry by clinicians.

The contract for NBSS has recently been extended to run until March 2010 and Financial Objects are in talks with the National Programme on a weekly basis as to how to extend this in line with plans for NPfIT.

They are also looking at developing generic interfaces to work with PACS being fitted in by the programme to obtain digital mammography images from the systems and attach to records used by the service.

Feedback has been very positive on the system and Financial Objects say they are continuing to work on enhancing the system.

“This application is critical to ensure women are checked for breast cancer or other related problems. The system helps to minimise delays and ensure that patients are seen when they should be seen. We are proud to be involved in this project,” said Solomon.

For more information see the InterSystems case study PDF by clicking Case Studies at the top of the home page.