ConXPhoto 2: Not Just Solving A Real Problem, But A Signpost To The Future, Too?

SynApps has just announced an exciting new product: ConXPhoto, a new addition to its expanding Vendor Neutral Archive solution set for NHS users. The idea: make it really simple but also totally safe and trackable for nurses to take the digital pictures of patients increasingly demanded by medical needs, but which have up until now too often been stored in haphazard, inaccessible ways.

Here, Mark Winstone, SynApps Solutions’ Sales and Marketing Director, continues to explain the functionality of the product and how ConXPhoto, despite being an obvious solution to a specific problem, actually fits very neatly into the wider SynApps Solutions VNA-based EPR philosophy.

Last time I started to tell you about why we’d built ConXPhoto: NHS Trusts up and down the country are struggling to properly manage and keep all the digital photos they need to take of patients, which are often very useful in their care but which can also be very important if any kind of dispute or legal action happens once the patient is discharged.

Last time I talked about why the product came into being – how we were introduced to the whole problem of modern digital patient photography management by the Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Following what the Trust’s Deputy IT Director had told us, we looked into the problem and discovered that there were some real issues here. Images were being created but not properly stored, deleted or backed up. You can’t blame the busy ward sisters for that: we employ them to look after us when we’re ill, not to be data management experts. So what could we do to help?

We have worked with Kingston, and a number of other significant London area Trusts, to produce ConXPhoto which we think it will really save everyone a lot of time.

In essence, we have put an extension into the digital cameras that the Kingston nurses are using which intelligently routes the images to a safe place: so not the thumb drive or shared drive where they were putting images before, but a central repository. We offer a simple Web-based interface that displays all the pictures in a ‘light box’ format, so they can easily click on the ones they want to save for the patient.

We then prompt them to enter appropriate information – but what’s better is that we’re getting the metadata in: the nurses are inputting the NHS ID number of the patient in question by linking into the other records we have for that individual in the main hospital database.

Which, if it is ours, will also be the place where the patient’s case notes, radiology files, endoscopy video (video is almost as big an issue for the NHS as patient still photography), scanned paper notes and so on all reside. Once again, you have the connected, holistic electronic patient record basis that we have been waiting for.

The end result of our work with Kingston and the other Trusts we have been piloting this with is ConXPhoto: a way to safely record and validate accurate, time stamped, auditable images around a patient journey, stored in the correct, safe way and in a medium (such as a VNA system) that lends itself to easy access and integration.

The shape of all patient records to come?

To sum up: there are four big winners from ConXPhoto.

One is the nursing staff – who can get this small but important job done much more efficiently.

Two is the CCIO, the Chief Clinical Information Officer (the IT leader in hospitals who looks after the health-IT interface) who will get compliance and a proper way to manage clinical information.

Three is the CIO or IT Director of a Trust – who will be able to see that a chaotic process, leading to proliferation of files on all sorts of media, is going to be done in a controlled and validated way.

Last, but absolutely not least, – the patient. Patients will see more efficient wards with clinicians able to spend more time on our care and who will be storing away information that may be highly useful to refer to in an accurate, dated and detailed way.

ConXPhoto is a really exciting and useful product solving a real problem for the NHS of 2014 – but it is also yet another example of the fantastic way that a VNA system, which by definition is a system that can capture and help manage any sort of digital information, is the way all patient information systems really need to go.