This month’s industry round-up features news University Hospitals Southampton has acquired an HICSS electronic patient record from EMIS and Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has rolled out an e-rostering system from Allocate.

University Hospitals Southampton acquires HICSS electronic patient record

University Hospital Southampton has completed the acquisition of the HICSS clinical EPR from EMIS Health.

HICSS was initially developed in the 1990s by the trust with a local software company, before subsequently being sold to the Health IT group Ascribe in 2007.

Ascribe was acquired by EMIS Health in 2013 in a deal worth £57m.

“Reacquiring the system initially developed in Southampton presents us with a fantastic opportunity,” said David Cable, digital services manager at the trust.

“We already have in-depth operational knowledge of HICSS but more importantly we have 10,000 experts to advise us on how to develop an EPR platform that enables best practice.

“That means supporting patient service delivery, focussing on user experience, promoting interoperability and open standards.”

Adrian Byrne, CIO at the global digital exemplar, added: “First steps are to complete the platform migration as part of the acquisition and then to look at opportunities of working collaboratively with other sites who might already be HICSS users.  We don’t want to be prescriptive about this, all options are open.”

The HICSS EPR includes electronic requesting and results, e-forms clinical handover and over 70 specialist systems including gastroenterology, surgery and maternity.

Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals implements new e-rostering system

Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has rolled-out an e-rostering platform from Allocate to enable highly accurate shift and budget planning across its sites.

The trust has implemented Allocate’s HealthRoster across 13,000 staff and is now adding the SafeCare module to match team capacity and skills to specific patient needs, enhancing patient care and safety while reducing overtime, agency and bank staff spend by almost 90% in some units.

The platform provides the trust with a complete, consolidated picture of clinical staffing across its sites and specialties, including bank and agency staff.

The system enables it to compare available skills and capacity with specific patient needs in a single view, highlighting exactly what resource is needed to staff a shift.

Using data captured by e-Rostering, the trust can align budget and team information with patient requirements, providing a joined-up approach to resource planning and enabling it to tailor shifts and budgets more effectively.

In one of the first units tested, the trust’s use of the Allocate system alongside SafeCare over a four month period has reduced temporary staffing usage from 110 to ten shifts in one roster period, and monthly overtime hours from 580 to 150, delivering an overall reduction in temporary staffing use of 89%.

Samantha Hunt, e-Rostering systems manager at trust, said: “Our technology use has supported and complemented the strong professional clinical leadership in this area to deliver significant improvement and staff and patients can now be completely confident in our ability to deliver great service and care.

“At the same time, we’ve reduced agency spend by ensuring that team members are deployed effectively, and temporary staff called on only when needed.”

Digital therapeutics company wins £100,000 grant from Innovate UK

A digital therapeutics provider has been awarded a £100,000 grant from Innovate UK.

Ampersand Health was selected as one of twenty SMEs to receive support from DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.

The company’s care platform for long term inflammatory conditions helps clinicians monitor their patients’ health more frequently.

It was selected based on its relevance to the addressed by the NHS in its Long Term Plan, which includes providing support closer to home in through digitally-enabled care to reduce pressure on hospitals.

Ampersand Health will use the grant for evidence generation; specifically, though clinical trial that will collect quality of life metrics for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Two hundred patients will use the app as a digital point of contact, ‘replacing’ traditional face-to-face contacts with healthcare teams.

In addition to collecting and monitoring clinical parameters, the project will explore whether the app could potentially improve patients’ knowledge of their disease, patient empowerment and to ensure there is no increase in anxiety and depression or needs for ‘unplanned healthcare’ caused by the reduction in hospital visits.

Nader Alaghband, CEO and founder of Ampersand Health said: “Inflammatory conditions present unique challenges to patients and healthcare providers alike. We’re really pleased that the value of our work to address these is being recognised and we feel that the combination of public and private funding gives us an excellent springboard for success.”

Connect Health subscribes to Thoughtonomy’s Intelligent Automation platform

Connect Health, the largest independent provider of integrated community MSK (musculoskeletal) services in the UK, has subscribed to the Thoughtonomy Intelligent Automation platform.

In order to sustain performance, meet demand and continue to provide patient care, it is working with the Thoughtonomy platform to enable certain high volume, low value, repetitive tasks to be automated and carried out by “virtual workers”.

This results in streamlined processes which free up time for colleagues to focus on the patient, rather than on certain administrative tasks.

The first phase of Connect Health’s ground-breaking Intelligent Automation programme is the integration of “virtual workers” into some Referral Management Centre processes, namely the registration of patients onto clinical systems.

Graeme Fletcher, chief information officer, said: “By using Thoughtonomy’s Intelligent Automation platform, it provides us with the foundation to further improve the efficiency of our processes in order to deliver first class patient outcomes.

“With more than 330,000 patient referrals registered per year, leveraging leading edge AI technology helps us to scale our operations without sacrificing quality.”

Echopoint raises £2.8m to develop technology to detect heart disease

Tech company Echopoint has raised £2.8m to develop optical sensing technology to help heart disease patients in a “grey zone” where the need for treatment is unclear.

Narrowing arteries caused by coronary heart disease are commonly treated by the insertion of tiny tubes called stents, but the process is both risky and expensive.

Current methods for determining whether to place a stent are inadequate and dye-based imaging techniques deliver inconclusive results, with many patients undergoing unnecessary invasive surgery as a result.

Echopoint has developed microcatheters which use fibre-optic sensors to accurately measure blood pressure and flow, enabling clinicians to precisely assess patients and dramatically reduce stent implants.

Dr Adrien Desjardins, chief technical officer at Echopoint, said: “Coronary heart disease is endemic worldwide but far too often the decision to implant a stent is based on sub-optimal information.

“Our technology addresses the ‘grey zone’ of patients where the requirement for a stent is currently difficult to determine. By using advanced optical sensing technology, we hope to significantly improve the accuracy of current treatments, saving healthcare costs and preventing unnecessary operations for patients that could be treated with medicines.”