Tags: Alfresco

Tackling the referred pain of digital patient referrals

As NHS England mandates that faxed referrals are phased out, and trusts look to alleviate the grind of manually re-entering details between different IT systems, SynApps Solutions’ Chris Brice charts a practical, pain-free way to exploit NHS Digital’s e-RS referrals service more fully – which delivers for patients, trusts and NHS budgets

On the face of it, NHS trusts are already making progress with electronic patient referrals. Steadily, GPs and patients are defaulting to the NHS Digital’s e-Referrals portal which will soon be mandatory for primary care referrals, to guarantee payment for services. Yet, although this is widely understood – and despite an appreciation that referrals by fax, email or other manual means are not efficient or easy to trace – a large majority of patient referrals are still being handled using complex, time-consuming workarounds. Even where requests are channelled via the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS).

This undermines the purpose of the NHS e-RS, which is designed not only to provide a single central digital platform for capturing and coordinating patient referrals, but also to streamline associated processes, speed up treatment, and provide reliable traceability of a patient’s progress and status.

So what is preventing total take-up of the broader digital experience – where referrals pass quickly to the right person, and targets of faster patient diagnoses and treatment are met?

The issue is two-fold.

First, NHS Digital hasn’t yet developed its own workflow-driven applications to make it easy to pass referrals through the system automatically and track and report on progress.

Second, the diversity of IT systems used by GPs and hospitals has proved a barrier to integration. As a result, primary care providers have resorted to faxing and emailing referrals. For their part, hospitals have printed and scanned those requests, manually re-entering and tallying these with patient records held elsewhere on their systems. Rather than accelerating case flow-through or alleviating administrative workloads, this has often created more work and delay. It is not unusual for a trust to be manually re-entering details of 15,000 referrals per month. Some major trusts accept up to 50,000 patient referrals daily.

Joining the dots

For the NHS e-Referrals programme to have its intended impact, digital processes need to be joined up end to end. Then they can start to exploit intelligent automated workflow. That includes prompt diversions of cases to more appropriate specialists or services (inside or beyond the immediate hospital); and complete traceability and reporting – with rules-driven alerts, to ensure that no case enters an administrative cul-de-sac or slips through the cracks, and that critical performance targets are not missed.

All Acute trusts are aware that the current piecemeal situation cannot continue. As of 2020, faxed referrals will no longer be accepted, and NHS services already face the prospect that they will not be paid for referrals accepted through any channel besides the e-RS portal. So trusts and their primary care practitioners might as well ensure that the e-RS leads to perceptible benefits for staff and patients.

Fortunately, approved NHS Digital development partners SynApps Solutions and Alfresco have already put in the groundwork to deliver end-to-end electronic referrals solutions. These offer trusts all of the integration; rules-based workflow; process automation; monitoring, prompting and reporting required to fully harness the benefits of digitising patient referrals.

From electronically capturing patient requirements and connecting these to patient records; to accelerating the triage process and clinicians’ acceptance/refusal/redirection of referrals; to vigilantly monitoring, prompting and reporting on referral-to-treatment progress, our combined, modular solutions are designed to extract maximum early benefits from NHS Digital’s e-Referrals initiative for everyone concerned.

The expected benefits are substantial – including efficiency gains of 60-70 per cent compared with manually processing, checking and following up on referrals and progress to treatment.

And that’s aside from the benefits to patient safety, as cases are proactively tracked and escalated thanks to automated rules in the system. Robust compliance and performance measures, meanwhile, will help ensure that trusts are paid in full and within acceptable timeframes for the cases they have accepted.

None of this needs to be an upheaval or costly exercise for trusts, either. Our solutions can be run in the cloud as well as on premise, and there are significant grants available for trusts ready to make the full transition now. Funding is applicable especially where organisations come together on joint projects, in line with NHS England’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan. Each trust can go at its own pace too, or prioritise how it tackles its respective migration to a fully digital referrals scenario. That’s because the SynApps Solutions/Alfresco solution suite is modular, offering trusts the flexibility to concentrate on just the capabilities they seek right now.

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals Moving To Digital Care With SynApps

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH) has recently introduced digital content management for its medical records, determined to make sharing medical data easier and more practical. The project is based on content management platform from Alfresco, implemented and project managed by SynApps Solutions.

SWBH is a busy, multi-site NHS entity. In the past financial year alone, it handled 199,437 attendances at A&E, 650,000 community contacts and 526,945 out-patient appointments. Clearly, information and its correct routing matter a great deal at SWBH. To put that in context: in the month of January 2017, the Trust moved no fewer than 35,000 individual patient records around teams internally. The problem: those documents were moved by four-wheeled trolleys – not digitally.

For The Trust’s chief informatics officer, Mark Reynolds, the motivation behind the digital content management project is clear – it’s all about  “helping make information sharing a lot smoother”.

It’s early days at SWBH for this new way of working – but Reynolds adds, “In terms of what clinicians do, the benefit is very marked with those 35,000 records move around electronically, not manually, finally.”

Read our full blog on this great SynApps NHS success here

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals Move To EPR And Digital Working

 

 

 

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH) has recently embarked on a significant digital transformation project

The aim in healthcare is for patient care to be provided seamlessly and with continuity across any combination of service providers – from acute and mental health Trusts to community GP practices and pop-up clinics all the way out to caregivers out in the field.

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH) is a busy, multi-site organisation. In the past financial year alone, it handled 199,437 attendances at A&E, 650,000 community contacts and 526,945 out-patient appointments. Clearly, information and its correct routing matters a great deal at SWBH. To put that in context: in the month of January 2017 alone, the Trust moved no fewer than 35,000 individual patient records around the institution.

SWBH has recently introduced a digital content management approach to medical records, aiming to make sharing medical data easier and more practical. The approach uses a content management platform from Alfresco, while being implemented and project managed by SynApps Solutions.

The Trust’s chief informatics officer, Mark Reynolds, explains some of the motivation behind the project. “We’re helping make information sharing a lot smoother via a set of changes that will eventually get us to a full EPR (electronic patient record). That’s going to happen in 2018, and it will set us up for the opening of new facilities the year after. However, what we are currently engaged in is a move to an increasingly paperless way of working to help build the foundations for that future.”

The trust is currently digitising the new documents that come through its doors. “This isn’t a project about making all of our archives paperless, but a way to make the Trust more nimble and EPR-ready,” adds Reynolds.

Advantages of this approach include valuable early benefits – freeing up office space on its sites as paper storage starts to become less important. SWBH is also able to redeploy some of its admin staff who would have been tending all that paper.

To achieve this, SWBH decided on a very pragmatic Open Source approach. This brings advantages in terms of commitment – such freeware can be adopted on a zero-cost basis with a view to a bigger commitment when commercially viable. The Trust also wanted to only work with a supplier who had sold into the NHS, and so would understand its issues and not need any hand-holding.

The Alfresco content management system to manage digital content, implemented by SynApps, met those criteria, and SWBH was happy to start the records digitisation project with those partners.

The right decision

It’s early days at SWBH for this new way of working. “Although our case note scanning project was not without its difficulties, we are now at a stable state where digital documents are the norm and not the exception. It’s a good lead-in for our new EPR as staff are becoming more accustomed to digital case notes.”

“In terms of what clinicians do, the benefit is very marked – those 35,000 records move around electronically, not on trolleys, finally.”

In terms of addressing our information archives, Reynolds sees that as a longer-term project that can be progressed in partnership with the Trust’s records supplier. “We decided that the best use of our resources was on the new medical documentation and getting that digitised first – and I think our results show that this was the right approach.”

The author is Chief Informatics Officer at Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals (SWBH) NHS Trust

SynApps Solutions To Exhibit At Alfresco Day London 2017

Content management leader invited to be a key participant at major technology partner customer conference   

Maidenhead, UK, 27 November, 2017 – Content management leader SynApps Solutions is delighted to announce it will be exhibiting at a special one-day event hosted by key technology partner Alfresco.

The customer and partner one-day conference, Alfresco Day London 2017, will be held at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington W8 4PT on Thursday, 7th December 2017, 8.30am – 6.30pm.

As its guiding themes, Alfresco Day London 2017 will look at how organisations can deliver a seamless digital experience for their markets and practical guidance on how to leverage the Alfresco platform to get there.

To that end, Alfresco and other participants will explore how delegates can:

  • Regain control of critical business content
  • Strengthen compliance
  • Optimise processes and
  • Gain competitive edge.

Attendees will also hear how Alfresco will work with Amazon Web Services™ (AWS) combining mobile collaboration, capabilities, and ubiquitous file access with the security, control, and policy enforcement that enterprises need.

They will also hear how the supplier plans to integrate Amazon’s Alexa speech recognition front end to integrate content and process, using smart assistant tech to transform interactions.

“As one of the foremost UK suppliers in the UK for the Alfresco ecosystem, we are delighted to be invited to Alfresco Day London 2017,” said SynApps Solutions’ joint Managing Director and Sales & Marketing Director, Mark Winstone.

SynApps will use the opportunity to speak with Alfresco customers about its proven delivery and service expertise for Alfresco ECM, providing organisations a fast path to help users interact with information.

“Alfresco Day London 2017 promises to be an excellent forum to engage in detailed discussion with digital technology pioneers and experts, as well as meet with customers and network with peers in the enterprise content management industry,” he added.

Please join us at SynApps’s stand to find out more.

To secure your free place as an ECM professional at Alfresco Day London 2017, please click here

SynApps Receives Strategic Partner Status With Content Services Giant Alfresco

 

 

Maidenhead, UK, 6 September, 2017 – Content management leader SynApps Solutions has received confirmation from key technology partner and content and process services leader Alfresco that it has attained coveted Strategic Partner status.

The certification process is based on a rigorous validation process by Alfresco on the amount of certified resource – at least 20 ACA or ACE level Alfresco certified consultants – an Alfresco partner can offer, plus measured sales and marketing activity and revenue plus customer satisfaction metrics.

The completion to this rigorous set of metrics means UK CEOs can have full confidence in all SynApps project management functions, from pre-sales through to project delivery and transition to support.

An open, modern, secure platform, Alfresco ECM provides a fast path for people to interact with information and for companies to respond to their changing business needs.

“We are honoured to have received this accreditation,” said SynApps Solutions’ Joint CEO, Mark Winstone.

“Our team of solution architects and delivery consultants is very strong and very committed with a drive to get the job done. That means we are the strongest in the UK for Alfresco solutions, with service expertise across strategic consultancy, implementation, content migration, training, hosting and long-term application support.

“This is an important milestone for SynApps to support our growth, underpinning our aim of always exceeding client expectations for delivery.”

About SynApps
SynApps is an independent services and solutions company specialising in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. Founded in 2003 by former Documentum services professionals, the company provides consultancy, implementation and support services for OpenText Documentum and Alfresco, and has authored a suite of content integration solutions, ConXApps, that allow businesses to quickly maximise their investment in ECM technologies. Organisations across healthcare, government and commercial markets rely on SynApps solutions and services to capture and share knowledge more dynamically and efficiently.

Find out more at synapps-solutions.com, or follow the firm on Twitter @Synappssol

SynApps Collaborates with Alfresco and Enovation to Produce Blueprint for Integrated Digital Care Record

September 6th, 2016 – SynApps is working with NHS Trusts to open up a practical pathway for health and social care stakeholders to share information – the IDCR (Integrated Digital Care Record).

Working with teams at Alfresco and Enovation, SynApps has developed a blueprint that offers a way for many different data owners to securely and efficiently share data, checking it in and out of a rich central repository.

Find out more about SynApps’ IDCR solutions.

Join us on June 22nd/June 23rd – London and Liverpool Healthcare Events

Have you registered for our events yet?  We still have places.  Click on the register link below

London, June 22 – King’s College, Waterloo Campus, London SE1 9NH 

Richard Jefferson, Head of Programme Commissioning at NHS England, will be joined by David Taylor, Programme Lead at Virtual Worlds and Medical Media at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Register

Liverpool, June 23 – Maritime Museum, Liverpool L3 4AQ

David Walliker, CIO at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust will be leading this session, highlighting the strategies and solutions that have helped Liverpool Women’s achieve the highest level of digital maturity for both its readiness and infrastructure.

Register