iSOFT Group Limited have announced that Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust has switched to its new A&E system under plans for all clinical staff at the 460-bed Darent Valley Hospital at Dartford to order radiology and pathology tests online, and follows an upgrade of iSOFT’s hospital information system (HIS) in 2009.
The new A&E solution replaces Ascribe’s Symphony product, which has been in place for 10 years. Interfaces to link Symphony with the HIS proved too complex and problematic for the trust’s ambition to progress to an electronic patient record.
“With A&E accounting for 30% of all hospital orders for pathology and radiology tests, it is vital to have reliable order communications and that demands seamless integration of A&E, HIS, pathology and radiology,” said Leslieann Osborn, the trust’s Assistant Director of Service Development. “Ordering tests electronically, and being able to see what tests have been ordered, is a huge benefit to doctors, and avoids duplication directly benefiting patient care.”
The 200-plus staff in A&E also prefer the new system. Screens are clearer and easier to understand and the admissions process is now faster. Printing of wristbands and labels for blood products is also saving time. The new bed board has enabled bed management across the entire hospital and a new tracking module gives staff an exact view of all patients and status. This also allows senior staff to monitor waiting times, capacity and bed availability to ensure targets are met.
The wider clinical users are also expected to see benefits as Clinical Correspondence, Discharge Notifications and Nursing Documentation are now available seamlessly across all specialties covering A&E, inpatient and outpatient episodes of care.
“This is further evidence of our continued commitment and ongoing investment in patient and hospital management systems and determination to support our customers’ ambitions and moves to EPR,” said Adrian Stevens, Managing Director of iSOFT’s UK and Ireland business.
The new functions were developed in co-operation with Darent Valley using an agile development approach, which halved the development time to just three months. Clinical staff sat with iSOFT developers to specify the new functions and were given each software iteration to test and feed back comments. “It was a highly interactive and co-operative process that has proved hugely successful and one that we will employ in future developments,” said Leslieann Osborn. “Adopting this new approach enabled us to meet our timescales for replacing the A&E system and roll out of electronic order communications across the trust.”
The move is also part of a drive to increase efficiency in A&E. Darent Valley deals with an average 2,000 A&E cases a week with numbers rising steadily. But the trust also expects an influx of patents if plans to close A&E at at the nearby Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup go ahead.