Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s in-house web based portal is to be used at two other health and care providers.

The portal, called WebV, is a trust-wide solution based on InterSystems Cache, and gives users access to real-time information and order communications.

Robin Howes, the trust’s client services technical manager, told EHI that the portal has become popular across Lincolnshire, and that the trust has had several requests to use it from near-by organisations.

“Most of the portal, such as pathology, radiology, order comms, and report acknowledgment is now used by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust as well,” said Howes.

“We have also just signed a deal with North East Lincolnshire Care Plus Group to use parts of the portal.”

Howes added that the portal was also in use in some community settings “as well as other organisations that may be caring for patients for whom the trust carries significant diagnostic information.”

The WebV portal has about 20 different modules, including bed management, electronic whiteboards, results reporting and blood tracking.

The trust is currently implementing handover, discharge summaries, clinical documentation and an electronic prescribing system, and staff can enter information directly into the portal.

The trust previously had around 80 systems that did not talk to each other, all with different log-ins. Howes said the goal was to bring together all the systems under one roof.

“The bed management module is highly interlinked with the clinical observations module; so, for example, if a nurse is updating observations, the system has all the clinical and administrative information at hand for that patient,” said Howes.

“In the trust, there are something like 2,200 log-ins. It’s the most used system in the trust.”

The patient administration system is also viewable through the portal, but Howes said there was some work left to be done to fully integrate the two.

“We want to let people enter information into the portal directly to the PAS. The plan is to develop the HL7 link back to the PAS,” he said.

The trust created its own portal after its pathology results system desperately needed an update. “We had a results reporting system around pathology and we wanted to convert to a web-based portal so it was easier to control,” he said.

The trust already used InterSystems Cache for data and workload purposes and asked the company to give the IT team a training course on its wider use. On the fifth day of training, the team built a web-based system for real time diagnostic reporting.

From there, the trust made the decision to create a portal as a step towards an electronic patient record.

“Subsequently, we convinced the trust board to go on and develop into something much bigger,” said Howes.

About six months after the decision was made, the trust went live with WebV. Howes said the key to success had been clinical engagement right from the start.

“One of the cardiology consultants who was a bit of a dinosaur when it came to technology and didn’t overly engage himself with IT. He was concerned that we would introduce a system he couldn’t use.

“We got him on board and he had a keen interest in the development, in particular he wanted any system to adapt to his, and his colleagues’, way of working. He spent every Tuesday working with us on how it would work.”

He added that the team was always told bluntly by the clinicians when they went down the wrong path, which had made it easier creating a system fit for life on a busy ward.

“Every three months we create a new version. We’re now at version 1.8 and 1.9 is scheduled for May. It’s hard work.”

However, Howes said that the biggest challenge they have faced so far, had been the implementation of electronic whiteboards.

“We’ve been installing electronic whiteboards, which seems to be the hardest thing we have done, not because of the technology but because we’ve had to reinforce the walls on the wards,” he said.

The system also works on mobile devices. The trust is currently using Panasonic Toughbooks, but the portal also works in iPhones and iPads, said Howes.