In this week’s round-up of digital healthcare news, we look at added functionality for the NHS e-referral service, a new messaging service at Pennine and an initative to help patients fill out their pre-op assessment at home.


New APIs planned for e-Referral process
NHS Digital says it will soon by easy for Health IT systems to plug into is national e-referral service, with the development of new APIs. Instead of needing a separate log-in to use the service, the APIs, which will be piloted by the end of the year, should allow clinicians access within their existing systems.

Other new functions being developed include allowing users to attach messages to referrals and a “capacity alert”, that will help direct patient to services likely to respond quickly. In its first year, NHS Digital says the service has handled 10 million referrals and saved the NHS £10m.


St George’s delays neo-natal Cerner roll-out
St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust has delayed the deployment of Cerner Millennium in its neo-natal unit. The trust was to go-live with the electronic patient record in the unit in July, but have decided to hold off “to first deliver improvements to the core IT infrastructure” at the trust. The trust is already using Millennium in nearly half of its wards and deploying the EPR in the neo-natal unit would have been a first in England and Ireland. The trust has not yet set a new date for the deployment.


Consultation on patient opt-outs
Dame Fiona Caldicott's review of data sercurity and patient opt-outs in July, the government is hold a round of public meetings on how the public want their health data handled. An online government consultation on Dame Fiona's recommendations closed on 7 September, but the Department of Health is holding the additional meeting "to ensure the public has an opportunity to discuss how their information is used and to seek views on the recommendations made in the review". Information about meeting times and venues can be found here.


Pennine goes live with messaging service
The Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust has gone live with Pennine Messenger across A&E, paediatrics and general medicine. The service, provided by Kendall Bluck Clinical Workforce Associates, means locum shifts can be advertised via text message to all Pennine Acute and North West Deanery doctors to try and reduce agency staff within the trust.


New pre-op digital assessment tested in North Middlesex
Ultramed, a Cornish company, is trialling its online preoperative assessment system at North Middlesex Hospital. MyPreOp enables patients that are waiting for an operation to complete their pre-operative assessments online from their own home. A second trial at the Hull and East Yorkshire Trust will begin in October.


Asthma plans needed in GP systems – charity
Charity Asthma UK, has called on GP practices that use Emis, to make sure every person with asthma has a digitally available asthma action plan. Emis is currently the only major GP primary systems supplier to have this functionality but report wants the NHS to “take immediate action” to make the digital asthma action place more widely available.

Bomgar used for Manchester NHS IT support
The NHS Greater Manchester Shared Services has picked Bomgar to handle IT support services for its wide range of trusts and CCGs across the Greater Manchester region. The system is used to support the services 20-strong service desk team set-up to help NHS organisations with IT problems.

The system allows the IT team to take control of users’ machine remotely to solve IT problems, and is integrated with ServiceNow IT service management system. It replaces a mix of remote support services used by several different primary care trusts that have since merged.


Derby first medical order using Peppol
Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has used that Pan European Public Procurement On-Line messaging standard to order medicine in a first for the NHS. The trust used Peppol to order screws used in hip replacement surgery from B. Braun Medical Ltd, using Healthlogistics and Global Healthcare Exchange UK Ltd.

Peppol is European set of standards for contracts, invoicing and exchange of electronic documents, intended to improve and speed-up the procurement process over a certified access point. As part of its e-Procurement Strategy released in August 2014, NHS England required all trust to adopt the Peppol standards.