Ealing Hospital NHS Trust has migrated its clinical systems interfaces to its Silverlink patient administration system ahead of a proposed merger with North West London Hospitals NHS Trust.

EHI reported in March that Ealing and North West London joined their Silverlink PAS systems together ahead of the planned merger in July this year.

To make sure there is no change in clinicians’ access to clinical data, Ealing has replaced its eGate integration engine with the InterSystems Ensemble integration platform and migrated its ten operational interfaces.

Ealing’s IT programme manager, John Graves, said the migration and move to the Ensemble platform came about because the trust wants to take greater control of its management of interfacing, rather than relying on outside experts.

“It means we can actually be fleeter of foot and can respond more quickly to make changes as they come along, and it also helps us to better understand the clinical requirements.”

The project’s go-live was managed in parallel with the migration of the trust’s legacy McKesson PAS and its data to the Silverlink PAS.

The trust used Ascribe’s integration consultancy services to provide key development work for the migration, including interface design, development and deployment.

The Ensemble integration engine will be used for all future interface development across the trust.

Ealing hopes the move to a single integration platform will allow the trusts to consolidate interfaces onto one consistent platform, allowing patient information to flow “securely and seamlessly” while also allowing a more flexible and scalable integration architecture.

Ascribe’s consultancy work with the trust’s IT staff aims to help them “take ownership” of future development requirements and interface support, which the trust hopes will reduce spending on external support.

Graves said the operational interfaces that were migrated are mainly unidirectional, providing information from the Silverlink PAS to departments like A&E, radiology and cardiology.

He said the trust is developing new interfaces to manage all of its patients and shared services from the merger, while it is also focussing on other areas such as improving its pathology interfacing.

Graves added that the interfaces migration is the “first step along the road” to greater interoperability across the trusts once they merge, while also helping it to improve Ealing’s community health, interfacing with GPs in its role as an integrated care organisation.

Ascribe executive chairman Stephen Critchlow said the migration had gone well, with its consultants helping the trust’s IT staff to understand the interface development methodology.

“It was a smooth project, and these days we can make them very smooth,” he said.

“Historically, interfaces and integration have been seen as the thing that always goes wrong, but that’s started to change.”

Ealing and North West London hope their merger will happen in July. The project, called ‘Stronger Together’, first submitted a business case to the NHS Trust Development Authority in October 2012; but it was not approved. 

After revising the clinical model and financial planning, the trust submitted a revised case in November last year which is undergoing detailed assessment.