Essex NHS trust speeds access to clinical data

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Essex NHS trust speeds access to clinical data

Karl Flinders

Essex River Healthcare (ERH) NHS Trust is aiming to improve the quality of patient care by giving staff speedier access to clinical information through a secure remote access system.

The trust bought a single Microsoft Whale IAG appliance, which gives up to 750 people secure remote broadband access to its network.

"The biggest benefit is that it has improved patient care by creating more timely access to clinical information," said Mark Large, associate director of ICT at ERH.

Previously, radiologists had to travel to the surgery, wait up to 20 minutes for the image to download and then make a diagnosis. The new system downloads images in two seconds.

Large said security was vital. "We had to make sure that the information being viewed remotely was not downloaded on to devices, which risks them being left there and seen by other people," he said.

ERH was previously unable to do this because it could not provide secure access, which is vital in the healthcare sector. The appliance enables the IT department to write strict policies that ensure only authorised members of staff can view documents and download them.

The trust initially paid £40,000 for the system but has since extended it with more user licences. "It has been so successful that we have expanded from 50 to 100 licences," said Large.

The system was installed by networking and security integrator Eurodata Systems, which replaced modems and ISDN lines.

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