Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust has turned to digital pen technology to capture the information it needs to claim payments under the maternity pathway payment system that is being introduced in shadow form in April.

The trust is using Anoto digital pens, Develop IQ’s paperIQ platform, and BlackBerry smartphones to electronically capture Payment by Results maternity information, without creating additional paperwork.

The new tariff splits the maternity pathway into three: antenatal, birth and postnatal. At the start of each period, expectant mothers will be assessed and assigned a level of care, set at standard, intermediate or intensive.

At the end of each period, trusts will receive a single payment, based on these levels, as long as they can show that expectant mothers have received the number of visits and types of treatment that they should have received.

The Department of Health has produced data collection forms to support the antenatal and postnatal pathways, but is advising trusts that they can develop their own sysetms or work across a network to produce the relevant data.

“We decided to meet this challenge by procuring a digital pen solution that will allow midwives to capture risk assessment data for expectant mothers,” said Ashford and St Peter’s head of informatics programme management, Laura Ellis-Philip.

“Without this information, the trust could be paid at a lower tariff for high risk patients, leading to a substantial loss of income.”

DevelopIQ’s business develop manager, Claire Brookes-Daniels, said the companies involved in the project were expecting other trusts to adopt similar systems.

Other trusts to implement the Anoto and DevelopIQ solution include Sheffield Hospitals Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, Leicester NHS Foundation Trust, and Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust, according to the companies.