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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust refreshes IT to drive digitisation

Sheffield NHS Trust's Transformation Through Technology programme aims to drive efficiencies and improve patient care

The Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has begun to roll out its Transformation Through Technology programme to remove paper records, improve efficiency and boost patient safety.

The multi-pronged strategy involves a technology refresh using infrastructure provided by ANS.

The trust selected the ANS FlexPod platform to provide converged IT infrastructure comprising networking and storage using Cisco, NetApp and VMware components. It also deployed ANS’s Enhanced Managed Services, where ANS monitors the infrastructure 24/7.

This infrastructure will support the roll-out of the trust’s digitisation strategy, based on the Lorenzo electronic patients records system from CSC, an electronic document management system and a clinical portal, which is being built by HP Enterprise Services.

The clinical portal brings different pieces of information about patients together in one place, including records held by the optometry and renal departments, which have their own patient records systems. The portal enables this information to be accessed alongside the Lorenzo electronic patient records.

Through the portal, clinicians at the Sheffield trust will have a single clinical view of every patient, which will enable more joined-up working between community, acute and primary care professionals. It will have the ability to pull data from the existing 280 computer systems into a bespoke clinical view, and will also deliver single sign-on access to clinical systems.

"The three systems will be going live in September, but we’ll only use a small part, plumbing in the entry level," said Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ director of informatics, Tracey Scotter.

The systems will allow the trust to start managing patients digitally, but paper-based records will need to be scanned first. "When a patient’s notes are called for, they will be scanned and delivered electronically by a company called Restore," she said.

Scotter estimated that within a year the hospital would have completed the scans of all records in current use.

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Along with the three major systems, the hospital trust has also moved from a multi-device desktop policy to one device per user. "We have a mix of iPads – people feel comfortable using them – Android and Windows 8 touchscreen devices," said Scotter. 

Last year, the hospital trust upgraded 8,000 machines to Windows 7. This involved packaging 4,000 desktop applications. She said some of the desktops were virtualised.

Hospitals across the NHS are looking at how to become more digital. In July, health minister Jeremy Hunt asked digital pioneer Martha Lane Fox to develop a proposal for digital uptake in healthcare.

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