Author Archives: Carina Birt

SynApps Accelerates Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust’s Digital Transformation

Integrated Paperless Patient Administration Solution Provides On-Demand Records Access

Hatfield, UK – December 9, 2019 – SynApps Solutions, the content management and process automation company, has transformed document and patient records management for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, reducing administration, freeing up space and making access simple.

Across the Trust’s diverse operations, clinicians and administrative support teams process around 3,000 live or new patient records each day and call up a further 250 legacy records from its archives. Before 2016, this activity was paper based, relying on large teams of people to access the correct files in advance of patient appointments and get them to where they needed to be.

To improve efficiency, reliability and the quality and consistency of patient care, and to be able to meet the latest Government and Department of Health requirements around digital patient records management and information security, the Trust needed to modernise its processes and capture and manage patient records and correspondence electronically.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust chose SynApps Solutions because it was a proven supplier of integrated healthcare record solutions to the NHS and, as an independent provider, it could tailor its systems to the needs of the Trust and deliver in its required timeframe.

SynApps Solutions deployed Alfresco Content Services, a full-featured electronic content management system, as its digital repository for scanned medical records, where they can be quickly called up by any authorised healthcare provider at the point of need, via the Trust’s in-house Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system.

“Whether it’s a consent form for surgery, notes from a previous outpatient appointment, or trend information about outpatient cases, clinical notes can be called up at the click of a button now,” explains, Liam Kennedy, Deputy chief operating officer, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust. “The ease of access, and ability to spot trends, means better patient care and patient outcomes, which is our priority. The solution SynApps has provided makes a huge difference.”

Efficiency savings have been substantial too. Closing on-site medical records libraries has freed up valuable space for use as part of the Trust’s investment in research and development, and more than 26 administration staff have been freed up for other work elsewhere across the Trust.

“The new paperless administration solution at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust is further demonstration of SynApps’ expertise in the UK healthcare sector,” adds James Paton, CEO at SynApps Solutions. “We know how important robust document and records management is and are delighted to make such a positive impact on clinicians and patients alike.”

Read the Case Study here. 

SynApps Transforms West London NHS Trust’s Document & Patient Records Management

Modern, easy-to-integrate Alfresco system allows NHS Trust to improve search, reporting and more

Hatfield, UK – October 14th, 2019 – SynApps Solutions, the enterprise content management specialist, has overhauled the document and patient records management of West London NHS Trust, improving user access to content, the ability to search and reporting.

SynApps works with a number of organisations in the UK health sector and became involved with West London NHS Trust when it became clear that the Trust’s legacy system for its document and patient records management was not fit for purpose.

Users were unable to search text in the Trust’s millions of documents and individual patient records, making it cumbersome and time-consuming to find documents. Trying to generate basic reporting metrics was clunky and slow at best, and often impossible.

“Access to documents and patient records is critical to the smooth-running of the Trust and our previous system was expensive, slow and starting to cause major issues for us,” said Graham Birrell, central records and EDMS manager, West London NHS Trust. “It was clear we needed to change and we started to look at the options available.”

The Trust had to decide whether to upgrade its existing system or replace it, and it was becoming increasingly clear that a replacement would offer the most potential for providing the more modern and improved experience users needed. It was important to be able to integrate the new system with Rio, the Trust’s patient administration system, as well as increasing accuracy and productivity, and improving overall service delivery.

For enterprise-level content management, Alfresco stood out as the obvious option for the Trust. Not only did it have a modern feel to it, and come with some great APIs, when Alfresco introduced the Trust to its strategic integration partner, SynApps Solutions to implement the new system, the Trust was immediately assured it had made the right decision.

SynApps swiftly demonstrated that Alfresco offered a lot more functionality than before, such as the ability to preview content, drag and drop documents, easily upload files and display folder contents. The whole experience of using the system was much easier, faster and clearer, while it is has also integrated with other systems easily and transformed reporting.

“I have been in the NHS for over 20 years and I can’t sing the praises of SynApps highly enough,” continued Graham Birrell. “They’re extremely responsive, even out of hours – which tends to be when we contact them – even though this isn’t in their contract. They put enormous effort into the preparations and the transition to the new Alfresco system, smoothing the way and doing exactly what they promised.”

West London NHS Trust, formerly West London Mental Health NHS Trust, is one of the most diverse providers of mental and physical healthcare in the UK, providing integrated services across 30 sites. SynApps has a strong track record in working with such health organisations, a result of its ability to understand the specific needs and challenges they are facing, according to spokesperson, job title, SynApps.

“Our work with West London NHS Trust is a further example of the success we have had within the UK health sector. It’s a market we have a deep understanding of, and we know how important document and patient records management can be and the impact they have on service delivery.”

AI support is transforming early lung cancer diagnosis globally

Clinical studies show that radiologists supported by software created using machine-learning algorithms detect significantly more cancerous structures or nodules than human-only readings

By Daniel Drieling & Frank Niggemeier of MeVis Medical Solutions

Lung cancer is the number one cancer globally, for men and women combined. Yet it is notoriously challenging to spot early enough for positive treatment outcomes. Usually symptoms occur in late stages of the disease when successful treatment becomes more and more difficult. Unlike various other types of cancer, such as  breast cancer, which can be checked for in a number of different ways, it takes targeted medical imaging to determine what’s going on inside our breathing apparatus.

That’s why governments internationally are increasingly launching targeted screening campaigns – like NHS England’s mobile lung health checks, where portable CT scanners are being driven out to areas of the country where rates of lung disease are higher than average. The idea is that by looking out for the earliest signs of problems among at-risk groups (smokers, those working in potentially harmful environments, and so on), health services will save more lives, and reduce the significant long-term costs of treating late-stage cancer.

Keeping pace with demand

The potential flaw in this plan is that qualified radiologists are not an abundant resource and, as more images are taken, their workloads will soar. Supported by standard, static imaging solutions, even the most experienced radiologists can take up to 10 minutes (or longer) to read a patient’s lung scans in sufficient detail to be able to inform next steps.

It is fortuitous, then, that artificial intelligence is now sufficiently mature and robust to offer a solution. It’s a technology we’ve been working with in a range of cancer detection solutions, and from 2014 we’ve been applying AI and machine learning to reading lung images. By showing the software all sorts of cancer-based images, even the most subtle early signs, we have trained our computer-aided detection algorithm to spot suspicious structures that could be cancer, which even the most expertly-trained eye might miss.

Developed using machine learning techniques, Veolity’s algorithm aims to recognise even the subtlest potential signs of lung cancer, so that it now offers an indispensable and highly stable diagnostic support tool. Combining this technology with radiologists’ own readings  is leading to the best detection rates ever known – an impressive improvement compared to human-based readings alone, according to clinical studies of computer-aided detection success rates. This is crucial – one supports the other: radiologists benefit from valuable automatic features, while retaining complete control of their diagnostic process.

Accelerating diagnosis

Together, human and machine are now detecting even the most difficult to spot signs of cancer – the signals that might otherwise have been overlooked, especially where radiologists are under increased time pressure. Importantly, the software has the potential get through those workloads at high speed too, allowing experienced radiologists to comfortably and reliably assess more cases per hour.

It isn’t only in the reading of baseline studies and complex follow-up comparisons that AI-based technology is leaving its mark, and lightening workloads. Veolity automatically extracts lung nodules and provides comparable volumetric measurements that help to assess findings. It also makes short work of planning further patient treatment, by matching findings and country-specific reporting guidelines including management recommendations.

For hard-pressed health services, and at-risk populations, use of AI-based detection techniques in mass-scale lung cancer screening is a win-win.

Thanks to our implementation of Veolity directly for large OEM healthcare equipment providers, and strategic distribution partnerships including that with SynApps Solutions in the UK, MeVis Medical Solutions AG is the world’s leading specialist in image-based lung cancer screening solutions, with established deployments on every continent. Veolity’s extensive global market penetration illustrates the scale of the technology’s potential in making more of radiologists’ time, and improving outcomes for lung cancer patients.

SynApps helps accelerate roll-out of NHS mobile lung checks

8 Trusts are already in discussions to deploy its Veolity solution, which enables radiologists to review or validate ‘lung MOT’ scan results at speed

  • NHS England aims to check the lung health of 600,000 individuals over the next 4 years, via CT scanners in mobile trucks in supermarket or workplace car parks, to get ahead of cancer
  • SynApps Solutions is the UK distributor of Veolity, from MeVis Medical Solutions AG, whose medical image processing software integrates with existing NHS PACS or VNA patient record systems

Hatfield, UK – June 11th, 2019 – SynApps Solutions, the enterprise content management specialist with a large customer base in UK healthcare, has reported soaring demand for a new software solution – Veolity – which helps radiologists review or validate lung CT scans at speed, as the NHS rolls out mobile lung health checks.

SynApps is already in talks with 8 NHS Trusts about the product from strategic partner, German medical software specialist MeVis Medical Solutions AG, as part of an NHS England scheme to take travelling lung clinics to supermarket car parks and other high-footfall public locations. The NHS has allocated around £70 million to fund 10 projects, which initially will target regions with high rates of lung cancer.

The initiative, designed to improve cancer survival rates, will create increased workloads for radiologists who will need to interpret and validate high volumes of new lung scan results within an acceptable timeframe – in addition to their existing pipelines. Veolity targets this scenario by providing an optimised reading workflow. Further, Veolity helps to identify, segment and calculate the proportions and make-up of pulmonary nodules in individuals’ scans. Radiology teams can use the software to perform an automated first review of patient scans including current-prior comparisons. After the initial reading, CAD findings alert the radiologist to regions of interest that may have been initially overlooked.

“A radiologist performing 10 lung studies per day could gain back two hours of their time, by using the software”, according to Jason Scholes, CTO and co-founder of SynApps. “With the shortage of trained radiologists, having access to tools that can help process workloads more swiftly, while maintaining high accuracy of analysis, is vital,” he notes.

SynApps, the UK distributor of Veolity, is ideally placed to implement the solution for NHS Trusts, many of which already source their patient record systems from the company. SynApps can provide full integration with hospitals’ existing picture archiving and communication system (PACS) or vendor-neutral archive (VNA) systems, along with appropriate advice and training.

SynApps, in partnership with MeVis, is experiencing high levels of interest from across the NHS. Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is one of the first in England to pilot the Veolity solution. “We hope to be involved in many trials like these,” Jason says.

Since being appointed a distributor for Veolity last year, SynApps has attended joint events with MeVis, to promote the solution to the UK healthcare market. “The reception has been fantastic – very positive indeed,” Jason says. “While a good proportion of the interest is coming from Trusts tasked with delivering the NHS lung clinics, we’re also getting requests to cope with incidental health checks/referrals from GPs. Veolity is a necessary tool for larger hospitals, and in time we expect to see this kind of automation aid become a mainstream part of their digital strategies.”

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and causes the most cancer deaths each year, so early diagnosis and prevention strategies are increasingly important. Low-dose computed tomography (CT) is recognised as an effective form of medical prevention among groups at higher risk of developing lung cancer.

The new checks mean large volumes of medical imaging data must be acquired and read – in a standardised and efficient way, ensuring high diagnostic precision – when radiologists are an increasingly scarce resource. Veolity fills that gap, and makes more effective use of radiologists’ time, by combining images of solid pulmonary nodules and findings from prior studies to efficiently create clear reports. These inform next actions, including further analysis. The software improves workflow and enhances quality in lung diagnostics, especially in high-throughput environments, such as routine lung checks.

About MeVis Medical Solutions
MeVis Medical Solutions specialises in developing software applications that combine innovative medical image processing and workflow support, bringing the precision of scientific studies to everyday work environment in hospitals and medical offices.

More at https://www.mevis.de/en/

SynApps Dubbed ‘2019 EMEA Partner of the Year’ by Open Source ECM Leader Alfresco

Earlier this month, SynApps Solutions was delighted to learn we’d been honoured as EMEA Partner of the Year for 2019 by our key Enterprise Content Manager (ECM) partner Alfresco. Chris Brice reflects on the depth of our relationship – and where it’s going next

Wow – what can we say but THANK YOU.

We’ve been working together for nine years, shifting about seven years into a major joint focus on helping NHS customers, which I’ll say more about in a second. What I can say right now is the things that made Alfresco originally so attractive to us – that it’s a major player in the ECM arena and an open Open Source platform, meaning that ISVs like us can build specific solutions with our customers on it, remains as true now as it was back then: Alfresco is a superb digital transformation platform with truly global reach.

And like I said, it’s in the NHS that we’re seeing the most benefits together of those facts. We share very important customers: Leeds Teaching Hospital, Northampton General Hospital and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

At Leeds we are helping its very dynamic CIO deliver on his ambitious plan to totally digitise the Trust – a task which will improve the working lives of all 20,000 employees. It’s a similar story with Northampton, which has 6,000 team members, and which has a plan to similarly digitally transform, based on implementing the Alfresco workflow solution as it allows them to provide immediate benefits by automating manual processes, making people’s lives easier, and making sure that they minimise the number of risks taken in, in any process. Interestingly, Northampton is working on its Referral To Treatment (RTT) workflow right now, as RTT pathways is a very important tracking solution that tracks every single individual through the entire 18-week cycle through their referral. Finally, over at Sandwell, the Alfresco digital platform is supporting another great workflow improvement, but we’re about to start work on an e-RS triage system there as well.

If you’re not familiar with that latter term, it’s an E-Referral system provided by NHS Digital where referral has to go through a portal. Working with Alfresco tech again, what we can do to help there is capture the content from the portal – be it fax, email, or scanned-in entry – then we deliver it to the right team of clinicians within the organisation, automating the whole process.

That’s a lot of achievement, and it’s so nice that for its 2020 kick-off the company decided to single us out for our great support. But you know what? The best is yet to come, as it’s the future we are creating together that I think is really going to open the next chapter: our joint SCR (Shared Care Record) push, which is what our relationship will all be about in the next few months.

SCR is, of course, a new initiative, funded and sponsored by NHS England ultimately, that is all about joining up care across the community in regional areas, so that if you get referred to a hospital that isn’t your local one, when you walk in the door and they identify you properly, there’s no delay in your treatment.

SynApps and Alfresco are working together on this front – joining together its Open Source digital platform and our VNA (Vendor Neutral Archive) and our Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) platform, to provide what we’re calling a ‘cradle to archive’ view of any person – be they a patient, a citizen, or somebody in social care or mental health, with a timeline view.

Our plans now are to do a significant marketing campaign to help Trusts working on their NHS England  Local Health and Care Record Exemplars’ (LHCRE  Exemplar work) – and we think it’s going to be a really big success over the next two years.

And we will make sure it is – as the benchmark our partners like Alfresco measures us by is its license model – and if we carry on making that work for them, I think we’ll become their key partner, not just in the UK, but the whole of Europe.

Chris Brice is Director of Sales & Marketing for SynApps Solutions

Making your Local Health and Care Record initiatives Real in 2019

2019 is going to be a very important year for the NHS, and I wanted to resume our ongoing conversation here with a timely reminder to all NHS leaders that the clock really us ticking on a very crucial piece of work – what you need around your STP work.

As I won’t need to remind you, STPs – Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships – were set up by NHS England back in 2016, split into organisations covering every part of the country.

The idea is to find new local and integrated ways to improve health and care, with NHS organisations and local councils in England being asked to join forces to co-ordinate services around the whole needs of each person.

STPs are very much part of the idea of delivering against some of the key goals of Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View vision of a much more sustainable and digital NHS. But they are also very, very local – the stated aim is come up with plans to plans drawn up in your area that will set out practical ways to improve NHS services and population health where you live.

STPs then in turn have led to another great programme, Local and Health Care Records – an attempt to enable the safe and secure sharing of an individual’s health and care information as they move between different parts of the NHS and social care. To make that idea a reality, a number of a number of so-called Local Health and Care Record Exemplars have been set up that have been given special finding partnerships of up to £7.5 million over two years to put in place an electronic shared local health and care record that makes the relevant information about people instantly available to everyone involved in their care and support.

Exemplars were supposed to be 2018 spend drawing up requirements for what a ‘local health and care record’ is supposed to look like. They were meant to be building a Proof of Concept (PoC) against that definition that can then be proven and tested, leading to building of a full solution by the end of the 2019, and rolling out to all members of their STP during the 2020 Financial Year.

But here’s the problem: A lot of organisations really trying to do the right thing here are a bit stuck, as there are no clearly defined requirements

A ready-to-use Local Health and Care Record Demonstrator

We’ve talked to lots of organisations on the ground on both the NHS and the local council side of this who are struggling to find a suitable technology to use to build their PoCs.

This really does prove how far we are from the days of NPfIT, when the plan was that a central system should have been provided to work with. Now, the onus is on the local teams to find their own best fit for this work – and it’s not easy. A big issue seems to be scale… a lot of the systems people have been testing out seem very precarious at connecting multiple back-end systems together in the secure way that NHS England will want.

So we have addressed this head on.  Working with a number of frontline NHS organisations, we at SynApps have built a Local Health and Care Record proof of concept (POC) to demonstrate how this works.

What that means in practical terms is that we have a testbed ready based off our NHS Integrated Digital Care Record system.  It is proven technology and utilises all of the power of our Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) and Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) solution and which you can literally plug in to you and your partners’ systems tomorrow to help you build a convincing PoC.

That also means you will have a system which can support every sort of content a Local Health and Care Record will need – from path lab results to X-ray imagery, NHS Records to GP notes and even your social care records.

So if you are starting 2019 concerned about what you can do to capitalise on the opportunity the Local Health and Care Record programme represents for your area, fear not – we can likely help you.

Get in touch to see what we can do to help you move your Local Health and Care Record ideas off the PPT and into real instantiation in working software.

Chris is Director of all SynApps Solutions’ Sales & Marketing activities