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Hillingdon Hospitals give clinicians mobile access to care records

Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust builds a mobile digital care record app, giving doctors and nurses access to patient information on iPads

The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has deployed a mobile app platform, giving staff access to a range of patient information.

The trust has worked with CommonTime, using an application platform to develop a mobile Hillingdon Care Record which holds information from a series of the trust’s systems, such as its Silverlink Patient Administration System, discharge summaries, pathology and radiology results and order communications.

Clinicians can view patient letters, clinical documents, palliative care records and GP summary care records through the app.

Matthew Kybert, systems development and integration manager at the trust, told Computer Weekly the project has been “completely clinically driven”. Doctors and nurses treating patients now have a full picture of the patient, which is particularly useful in A&E, he said.

“We don’t have doctors queuing up at the nursing station waiting to look up the patients’ information anymore,” he added.

In 2013, the trust built an integration platform in-house, using Intersystems Ensemble, which ensured all the systems were integrated and that the data quality was up to scratch. The integration work made it easier to build a mobile platform on top of that, said Kybert.

“We started off doing a pilot with 20 clinicians using the app, and we were the first trust in the country to access GP records on a mobile device,” he said.

The trust has deployed 50-60 iPads and iPad Mini’s to specialist nurses, junior doctors and consultants so far, but as the trust – like every other NHS organisation – faces significant financial pressures, it can’t afford to buy everyone an iPad.

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To ensure uptake continues to be high and enabling more people to use the app, the trust also developed a desktop version.

“It’s essentially the exact same app, with the same look and feel. The only difference is they can access it on Microsoft Windows desktops,” said Kyber. He added that the trust is also looking at introducing bring your own device (BYOD), allowing clinicians to use the app on their own devices, as well as remote access.

“The data in the app is encrypted at rest and we don’t store any information on the mobile device,” he said.

Constantly developing

The development team, which consists of three people, release updates and new functionalities on the app every six weeks.

The trust is now looking to find a way to integrate the child protection information system, as well as the North West London Care information exchange – a technology programme covering social care, GPs, community, mental health and acute trusts in the area.

“As more sources become available, we’re looking to add more information and eventually make it accessible in the community as well,” said Kybert.

Although the mobile care record is currently read-only, the trust is working to digitise its forms and assessments.

“We want our emergency care to be paper free by 2018, so we’re looking to do electronic forms and assessments. In the future, we hope to allow clinicians to fill out forms electronically on the mobile app,” he said.

The trust is also developing a vital signs app. Although it is a separate project, the vital signs app will seamlessly integrate and be available through the care record app.

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Call me a pessimist. I have spent a lot of time in hospitals and see what goes on first hand. It seems easy that a mobile/wearable device could get misplaced/dropped of forgotten some where and then expose sensitive data like patient info that should not be. 
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