The Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has rolled-out a maternity solution from GE Healthcare to provide a vigorous Down Syndrome programme for women in West Dorset.

The trust has joined forces with Health Net Connections (HCN), the UK distributor for GE Healthcare’s Viewpoint and Trium CTG, to roll the solution out across four sites, including three supporting community hospitals.

The system, which provides reporting and image archiving functionality, whilst integrating patient scheduling, examination data and lab results into an electronic record, is being used to connect patient data through obstetrics, ultrasound and maternity departments.

The installation at the Dorset trust enables Viewpoint to receive an expectant mother’s full profile, including patient demographics and appointment details from the central patient database using HCN’s Talk2 integration engine which utilises HL7 standard messaging.

The measurements taken during an ultrasound scan are transferred electronically to ViewPoint which reduces the risk of errors which can occur with manual data entry.

Linda Chappell, project head at the trust, said: “We are now able to calculate a more accurate risk assessment for Down’s screening to comply with the guidelines outlined by the UK National Screening Committee.

“In such a busy environment, where the day-to-day care of our patients is our top priority it was really important to have a network of people who could make things happen.

"They [Health Net Connections] were very knowledgeable about the product and with additional funding we would be keen to expand the use of Viewpoint into other areas in the future.”

The system is also interfaced to the laboratory at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, where blood analysis is carried out. Patient data is sent alongside the blood sample and the combined results allow ViewPoint to calculate the risk of a child having Down Syndrome.

Jonathan Raife, managing director at Health Net Connections, said: “This is our first major installation since we secured the licences with GE Healthcare in May this year.

"We’re delighted to be able to showcase our continued commitment to providing the highest quality information technology support throughout women and children’s health.”

Despite the roll-out of the maternity solution, the hospital is facing a predicted deficit of £7.4m by 2010. In order to reduce the burden there are threats that the maternity and special care baby unit may be closed. A decision on the future on the future of the departments will be made in January.

Link: GE Healthcare

Health Net Connections is based in Woking.