This year’s awards attracted a record entry and it was hard for the judges to choose between them. At the awards dinner at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel, MC Dr Phil Hammond stressed that all the finalists had done well to get so far, and made sure the audience gave them a “rousing cheer.”

There were six categories, plus an overall winner, sponsored by McKesson, and a Healthcare ICT Champion of the Year award, sponsored by Microsoft. These were won by: The Quality and Outcomes Research Unit at University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Sue Rushbrook, head of systems and network services, York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The six categories, their finalists and their projects were:

Best use of wireless healthcare sponsored by Cisco

The iWard: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

The Streamlined Ward Working project is a multi-disciplinary approach to innovation, clinically led and supported by managerial and IT staff. It has created a radically transformed ward environment, where enhanced wireless-enabled point-of-care tools have removed paper-based collection. This allows clinical staff to electronically record, quality assure and share data on patient observations, handover records and care plans.

WiFi-based equipment tracking: Airetrak

Working in partnership, Airetrak, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Paisley and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, have implemented a Wireless local area network across 15 areas of the hospital and integrated this with Airetrak’s ResourceView WiFi based RFID tracking solution. This helps staff to manage1,000 portable medical devices with a capital replacement value of well over £2m.

Wireless revolutionises patient care: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University NHS Trust (winner)

With the innovative use of wireless technology, clinicians at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, are now able to access information about their patients at the bedside.

The trust’s IM&T directorate has combined wireless capability with a series of seamlessly-linked electronic systems so that clinical information can be recorded during ward rounds, medications can be verified, drug orders placed electronically and discharge summaries created instantaneously. The result is more effective treatment, increased efficiency and support for staff, and enhanced patient services.

Excellence in Healthcare Information Management, sponsored by IMS Health.

Prison Healthcare Solution: CSC

The pressure on prison clinicians is immense; each day, on average, there are 8,200 consultations. About 90% of prisoners have diagnosable mental health problems and 24% have injected drugs at some time. Prisoners are highly mobile, too, with 170,000 transfers a year between establishments.

SystmOne Prison is helping staff to improve care by making the prisoners’ electronic clinical records available immediately on transfer. This enables efficient health screening and ensures the patient record builds over time. CSC has rolled out the system to 70% of prisons in the North, East and Midlands of England.

A new health service for Liverpool: Liverpool Primary Care Trust

This project provides clinicians across Liverpool with shared access to patients’ medical records, supporting the PCT’s aim of keeping patients out of hospital wherever possible and providing continuity of care by well-informed clinicians. The change is being managed in three stages: the first uses EMIS Web to facilitate new services including an A&E diversion service and a new anti-coagulation service. The second, now underway, provides access to GP records for existing services. The third will see the creation of centres where systems used by acute trusts and community services are integrated with primary care systems and national applications such as the Electronic Prescription Service.

Birmingham’s Quality and Outcomes Research Unit – improving care delivery using data analysis: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (winner)

The Quality and Outcomes Research Unit at University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has grown from a close collaboration between information analysts and clinicians to cooridinate the analysis of new and existing health information. Initial work was focused patients undergoing cardiac surgery, but the aim is to extend to all units in the trust. Real benefits for patients are accruing, for example, a new “care bundle” for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and an analysis of the effects of social deprivation on cardiac surgery outcomes.

Healthcare ICT Product Innovation sponsored by Quicksilva

C-PORT (Chemotherapy Planning Oncology Resource Tool): Concentra, AT Kearney and the Pharmaceutical Oncology Initiative Partnership

C-PORT applies modeling techniques to tackling the problem of chemotherapy capacity planning. It uses advanced techniques in simulation to forecast how each patient will experience care, how long they wait, who they see, and when. It also creates, in simulated form, real life events that influence treatment such as equipment breakdowns, phone calls, meetings and absenteeism. The development of the tool involved teamwork between 12 pharmaceutical companies, 26 NHS Cancer Networks in England, the NHS Cancer Services Collaborative and the Cancer Action Team of the Department of Health and the IT sector, with the final team being supported by consultants AT Kearney and analytics and software development company, Concentra.

Sign Translate Hospital: Sign Translate Ltd (winner)

SignTranslate Hospital is a web-based communication tool that helps hospital staff to communicate with patients who are either profoundly deaf sign-language users or foreign-language speakers. This enables medical staff to treat deaf or non-English speaking patients without delay, even if face-to-face interpreting support is not available. Sign Translate Hospital offers over 400 medical questions with instant pre-recorded video translations in three different dialects of British Sign Language and 12 foreign languages. There is also a facility for using interpreters via videolinks and a free text alert service providing appointment reminders and flu jab alerts.

Patient Partner: Voice Connect Ltd

Patient Partner is a system that allows patients to book, cancel, check and change appointments using their telephone. The system is a PC-server based solution, which connects to a GP practice’s telephone system. It integrates with all major electronic appointment books, ensuring that the system operates in “real time.” Patient Partner is currently helping GP practices across the UK to extend reception opening hours; ease the pain of early morning congestion and promote and administer appointments for specific clinics.

Best Use of ICT in patient and citizen involvement, sponsored by Fujitsu

Renal Patient View: Renal Information Exchange Group

Renal Patient View gives patients online access to information from their renal patient records, effectively providing them with an electronic personal care plan. It has been developed by the renal community through a multidisciplinary group with strong patient representation. Following pilots in 2005, Renal Patient View has been offered more widely and now has over 7,000 kidney patients online in 33 units covering over half of the UK’s renal patients, with continuing steady growth.

Pilot Emergency Contraception Service: NHS Direct

NHS Direct, England’s online and telephone-based healthcare information service, wanted to understand how it might integrate its existing multi-channel services with new digital technologies, particularly social networking websites and instant messaging. Emergency contraception was chosen for the pilot. The trial service was delivered by NHS Direct advisors who provided advice and information using Instant Messaging accessed through applets on: Bebo, Warwick University Health Centre website and parts of the NHS Direct website. The users evaluated the service very highly.

New media sexual health initiative in the Humber region: NHS Choices (winner)

NHS Choices teamed up with local primary care trusts, health professionals and volunteers from the Humber region to look at how new media and social marketing could be used to improve access, participation and outcomes in sexual health services. The target audience was disadvantaged 14-21 year olds. The campaign included the launch of a special microsite for the region with localised information about sexual health services, magazine-style web content on sexual health, the use of Bluetooth messaging to young people in risk areas such as nightclubs, text services and young volunteers recruited to promote the service. Sexual health services in Humber reported an increase in the use of services and there was 10% increase in Chlamydia screening.

Best Use of IM&T Promote Patient Safety sponsored by NHS Connecting for Health

VitalPAC: University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

The VitalPAC project has introduced an electronic form of the traditional paper observation chart – but one that alerts staff automatically when a patient’s condition deteriorates. The technology from TLC (The Learning Clinic) alerts staff when observations of vital signs need to be taken and can tell straight away whether patients are getting sicker. This enables critical care staff to intervene and prevent patients deteriorating to the point where they need to transfer to intensive care. The trust tested and piloted the system on one ward before implementing it into other areas in March. Initial findings show that VitalPAC is working well and making a huge difference for patients.

Using IT to reduce medication errors: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Pharmacists at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust collaborated with a company in developing a closed loop system to reduce the problem of medication errors. The system comprises electronic prescribing, automated ward-based dispensing, barcode patient identification and electronic medication administration records. Results have been encouraging. Prescribing errors were identified in 3.8% of 2,450 medication orders before the new system and 2.0% of 2,353 orders afterwards. Medication administration errors occurred in 7.0% of 1,473 non-intravenous doses pre-intervention and 4.3% of 1,139 afterwards. Patient identity was not checked for 82.6% of 1,344 doses pre-intervention and 18.9% of 1,291 afterwards.

Emergency Care Summary: NHS National Services Scotland (winner)

The Emergency Care Summary system is a national patient safety project which provides a practical, accurate summary of key medical information for clinicians treating patients in unscheduled situations. The service is available round the clock to out-of-hours centres, accident and emergency departments and NHS24. The project was launched nationally in 2006 and ECS records have been accessed over 1.3m times by over 4,500 users. Early evaluation has shown that the Emergency Care Summary is of benefit to clinicians and patients in enhancing care and patient safety in unscheduled and emergency care.

Team of the Year sponsored by NHS Connecting for Health

An emergency care solution by the NHS for the NHS: NHS Pathways team, seconded to NHS Connecting for Health (winner)

NHS Pathways is a system developed by a 16-strong multi-disciplinary team, working together virtually. The team has created an electronic clinical assessment system for emergency and unplanned care which enables all callers to any service to have their clinical needs assessed effectively and consistently by the call taker they speak to. It then enables a referral to be made directly to the most appropriate provider in their local area. NHS Pathways has been piloted in three areas serving a total population of over four million with significant benefits for care integration. A wider national roll out is planned.

Electronic Prescribing in Children: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children

Responding to a national drive to tackle the problem of paediatric medication errors, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust became the first UK children’s hospital to implement an electronic prescribing system. The multidisciplinary team included doctors, nurses, pharmacists, change agents and staff from the ICT department at the hospital, together with academics at the Centre for Paediatric Pharmacy Research. Evaluation shows that the electronic prescribing system has enhanced patient care by reducing prescribing medication errors. The system has been well accepted by staff and is being rolled out across the entire trust. The system has had to be reduced in scope recently due to infrastructure work. A full service is expected to be restored in 2009.

Electronic Ordering of Pathology Tests: Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

Within eight months, a multi-disciplinary team from Stockport has successfully transformed the way clinicians order pathology investigations, not only from the in-patient wards, but also from outpatient and pre-operative environments. In October 2007, only 5% of pathology requests were made online, compared to 92% in June 2008. More than 192,000 orders have been placed so far. The project was preceded by real time recording of admissions, discharges and transfers by nursing staff at ward level, using iSoft’s Patient Centre.