This week’s round-up of Health IT news includes free wi-fi for GP practices, a new IT direction for Harrogate and the race between paper and software.


Free Wi-fi extended to GP patients

NHS Digital says nearly a 1000 GP practices will have free wi-fi by the end of March as part of a push to get the entire NHS estate online.

Twenty CCGs have committed to supplying wi-fi to practices by the 31 March, available to both patients and NHS staff.

The internet will be provided to patients through an portal, which will initially display relevant local health information.

NHS Digital has the aim of having free wi-fi across the entire NHS estate by spring 2019, starting with primary health care. It is part of a broader effort to extend digital patient participation by lowering the barrier to entry.


New IT strategy for Harrogate

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust have released a new five-year IT strategy from 2017 to 2022.

The trust says it will change from its current “best of breed EPR solution”, to one of an integrated EPR solution in a gradual replacement and reduction process.

The EPR is described as the “centre” of the strategy to be paperless by 2020, with other key priorities including a clinical portal, clinical noting and documentation and self check-in kiosks.


Tablets fast than paper for vital signs – study

A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, shows using software to record vital signs is about 30% faster than paper and pen.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been using an electronic notification and documentation system, developed by Oxford University, on tablets since 2014.

A study of 606 observations over ten weeks found vital signs recorded on paper took, on average, 215 seconds. Using the tablet electronic system cut the average to 150 seconds.

The trust and university have recently reach an agreement with Drayson Technologies to license and sell the system, known as SEND, following further testing.

Oxford University Hospitals is one of 16 global digital exemplar sites and uses a Cerner Millennium electronic patient record.


Wolverhampton to replace legacy PCs

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust is planning to replace nearly a thousand PCs and laptops in a five-year staggered process. At an estimated cost of £565,988, the Midlands trust wants to change up to 900 PCs and 64 laptops which are older than five years old. The business case, published in the January board papers, said the trust wants to make sure that 95% of its PCs are replaced within five years.


PretaGov wins discharge letter business

NHS Digital has picked PretaGov’s Pretaform platform for creating electronic discharge forms between health and social care. NHS Digital said using the form builder was part of a move away from paper to help streamline hospital discharges.


Royal Cornwall goes live with new cardiology monitoring system

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has deployed McKesson’s Cardiology product, an image archiving system for its cardiology department.

The trust went live with the web-based system in November last year. It allows the trust to share ECGs and Echo procedure reporting in real-time across multiple sites.