Tags: EPR


The aim of the Framework is to enable technology leaders to work in partnership with public sector organisations to shape and deliver their digitisation and transformational goals. The framework satisfies the Public Sector’s entire Information Communication Technology and digitisation requirements.

Find out more here.

Countess of Chester – F085 – Legacy Information Integration and Management Framework

This framework seeks to introduce a new Framework Agreement which will allow eligible NHS bodies to procure legacy information integration and management solutions. The framework allows for the procurement of a cloud-based or on-site archive which interfaces directly with a live EPR, so clinicians can access archived clinical patient data seamlessly from within the live EPR. The data is extracted, analysed and migrated to the new system, ensuring the data is usable in the new system. Data can be extracted from multiple systems and aggregated into one archive, simplifying access where multiple systems may have been in place previously. The archive and the live EPR will interface directly, and access to the archived data is available within the new EPR system, streamlining access and allowing the legacy contracts to be ended.

SynApps Solutions have recently been awarded onto the National Framework Agreement for the Provision of Legacy Information Integration and Management by Commercial Procurement Services at The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Find out more here.

SynApps Announces the General Availability of its New eReferrals Gateway Solution, Developed in Partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

The native NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) integration, which is already generating significant interest among UK trusts, will allow secondary care providers to digitally disseminate referrals to clinicians with patient records

Hatfield,  UK – September 15th,  2021 – SynApps Solutions, the enterprise content management specialist with a leading presence in UK healthcare, has formally launched its new e-Referrals Gateway solution for NHS Acute hospitals.

Developed in partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, the solution allows e-Referrals content to be stored and accessed digitally alongside electronic patient records – addressing the inefficient practice of e-Referrals being printed out and circulated manually within hospitals. Crucially, secondary care providers can connect this to their existing patient administration or clinical systems, whatever the underlying repository – whether Alfresco, Documentum, etc.

The SynApps e-Referrals Gateway, which was tested in a successful proof-of-concept project at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and is set to be rolled out to other UK trusts, bridges a gap in NHS Digital’s electronic referrals initiative. Usually, when e-Referrals come in to Acute hospitals via the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS), the content is printed out before being passed to the relevant consultant.

“The NHS e-RS is really just a user interface through which hospitals retrieve electronic referrals,” explains Jason Scholes, CTO and co-founder of SynApps. “Unless this is integrated with everyday hospital systems, the digital benefits stop at the hospital threshold. And, once the content is transferred onto paper, it carries the same risks of the notes going astray, or not being readily accessible, as have traditionally been the case with written or faxed referrals.”

SynApps’ e-Referrals Gateway provides the means for e-Referrals content to be captured and stored alongside electronic patient records, or other existing clinical systems (for instance those holding medical imaging records). The idea is to give clinicians seamless and concurrent access to everything they need, on demand, as part of a broader workflow. Unlike other solutions in the market, it doesn’t ‘screen scape’ the referral notes, but captures them natively using the NHS’s native e-RS application interface (API). This enables richer information to be captured, and supports rapid search.

To optimise the solution, SynApps partnered with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, a valued customer and digital trailblazer. “It was important that we got this right – and what better partner than Sandwell – a visionary Trust and a very knowledgeable customer of ours,” Jason comments.

Sandwell, which has eliminated paper from its sites in recent years and embraced electronic patient records, seized the opportunity to automatically upload referrals to its EPR system, so that consultants can triage them directly and move them to clinics.

Word of the latest SynApps/Sandwell collaboration has already reached neighbouring hospitals, generating a lot of interest, and a major London hospital is among the latest to implement the solution.

Says Liam Kennedy, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, which is co-marketing the e-Referrals Gateway, “We are very ambitious in our vision and are now in the top quartile among NHS Trusts for advanced digital operations. With SynApps’ support we’re storming ahead, and we’re keen to help light the way for others who want to learn more about what we’ve done.”

“We’re excited about the potential of the e-Referrals Gateway,” Jason at SynApps adds. “Existing NHS e-Referrals handling is at odds with Trusts’ paperless strategies. It is also critical that Acute Trusts are able to handle referrals reliably and effectively, with good traceability – so that they get paid for their work and cover their fixed costs. With this new solution, devised with proactive input from Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, we’re bridging that gap.”

Time To Plug Every Paper-Created Care Pathway Gap








SynApps’s Mark Winstone looks at how NHS CCIOs and CIOs can make a smart move to new ways of paperless working in a crucial part of hospital workflow – Care Pathways

“We are a long way to getting to our paperless targets – but we are still working to remove paper out of our medical records work.”

The quote is from David Walliker, CIO at the Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust – and I am sure his is a reality many NHS teams can relate to.

In fact, even as we are moving to a paperless NHS by 2020, many hospitals are still shuffling a lot of paper around. This is happening even though a fair number have adopted leading-edge EPR (electronic patient record) suites that are making a lot of their processes fully digital.

Why is that a problem? There is one serious problem with paper still filling up the hospital –and another that’s absolutely critical. Actually, they are inter-related, as we’ll see.

The first one is simple efficiency. When you start a Care Pathway, such as when a patient comes into A&E, if your staff are having to transcribe details onto paper or on and off terminals, that’s simply time wasted – and time they should be using to help the patient directly.

Don’t let Never Events happen because of the paper chase

The second critical issue is that a complicated, disjointed system that’s paper here and digital there means there are gaps – gaps into which patients can fall. And, tragically, they do, resulting in what NHS England classes as the unforgivable Never Events – “serious incidents that are wholly preventable as guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers”.

We know of at least one Never Event caused by such a disjointed process: a Trust that has paper at a crucial part of its emergency admissions – and some paper got lost, and a patient ended up with double the dose they should have received.

Minimising the chance of Never Events is one of the principal drivers of the whole move to paperless. But not everyone has an EPR: not all Trusts have turned on all the modules; not all systems have been joined up.

That means there are gaps, often at crucial steps in a Care Pathway, that don’t have any support for a better, more digital way of inputting data and keeping it safely in a central repository. That’s now possible, however, via some great new technology that’s being brought on to the marketplace by our key Enterprise Content Management (ECM) partner Alfresco in the shape of something called Activiti, a functionally rich Business Process Management (BPM) solution.

What Trusts can do is automate some parts of their care Pathways with Activiti, which is a simple but powerful way to build easy to use e-forms that can plug these gaps – and help stop these Never Events ever happening.

‘Significant efficiency gains’

One Trust that’s already finding out just how useful paperless support for Care Pathways is, is Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust. Let’s find out a bit more about just how.

One of only two hospitals in the UK dedicated to the care and treatment of women and their families, Liverpool Women’s is also the largest women’s hospital of its kind in Europe. And as part of its commitment to a paperless NHS, the Trust recently made the move to an EPR it thinks will completely transform the delivery of its patient-facing services, enabling better, more informed patient care at the point of care while streamlining working practices between clinical teams. The project will generate significant efficiency gains alongside major operational cost savings for the organisation.

A great way to make sure you don’t miss your RTT target

But interestingly, says CIO David Walliker, management soon realised as the EPR project progressed that the non-clinical workforce could similarly benefit from an enterprise content management solution. “It was time to initiate a more efficient paper-less ‘next generation’ working approach that was better aligned with how business users need to operate today,” he says. “Implementing Alfresco will improve staff access to documents and, in due course, support remote access to our resources by mobile workers and remote workforce personnel.

In specific terms, that’s going to include advances like automated electronic document management processing, task management and powerful workflows that he thinks will maximise workforce performance and internal collaboration capabilities, he predicts.

So what’s his view on Activiti? Very positive. “It’s been very quick to develop and get up and running,” he has recently stated. “We’re replacing our paper forms with e-forms this way, starting with emergency staff.” Team members are very enthused by how easy this way of working is, he says, especially how connection with that back-end EPR means many fields in a Care Pathway can be automatically populated by the system itself.

Efficiency is also helping patients, as better record taking and information inputting has started to cut down the need for pregnant mums to come in, he adds.

So there seems to be real basis for optimism here: Activiti does seem to be a way to build more digital NHS workflows. And it’s worth bearing in mind that when you start a Care Pathway of any kind, the clock starts ticking for your RTT (Referral to Treatment) waiting times – another reason to ensure a streamlined, safe way of Care Pathway building.

We really think there’s value in this approach, and I encourage any NHS IT team to explore how it might help.


Mark is joint Chief Executive and head of all Sales activities at SynApps Solutions

You can see a short video about how Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust is benefiting from Activiti on YouTube here, while a fuller case study can be found online at our partner Alfresco’s site here.

Plus, if you’re interested in finding out more about e-forms and an automated approach to get to paperless Care Pathways, you may want to go to one of these upcoming roadshows. In them, you can hear more about the Activiti technology and about Trust experiences.

The events are supported by NHS England, and are being run in London on June 22 and Liverpool on June 23: please go here for full details, including how to secure your free place if you are a qualified NHS professional.

Hope to see you there!