Healthcare Roundup – 18th May, 2012

Maudsley launches PHR while QEHB plans summer deployment

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has launched a personal online health record for its patients, using Microsoft’s HealthVault platform.

According to EHI, the records have already gone live across five clinical teams and two GP practices in the hope it will improve patients’ engagement in their care and the use of outcome measurements across the trust.

Mike Denis, director of information strategy at the trust, said: “This is not just giving view access – that’s not empowering enough – we want to take this to the next level. We’re hoping that patients will be able to become co-producers/designers of their care.”

Meanwhile University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has told EHI that it will roll-out of its in-house developed myhealth@QEHB patient portal.

From July, patients receiving treatment in specialties such as diabetes, long term liver conditions and prostate cancer will have access to the web-based system.

The portal will enable users to log-in from any location and view information such as their medication, test results, discharge letters, and details provided in clinical appointments. The portal also allows patients to interact with other members of the system, in what Birmingham describes as a prototype “social network for the NHS”.

One-year extension for Accenture PACS

The Department of Health has signed a one-year extension of the picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) contract with Accenture. Approximately 31 trusts in the North, Midlands and East have decided to remain with Accenture until at least June 2014.

ComputerWorld reports that under the contract extension Accenture will also continue to manage the central data store, which provides NHS trusts in the NME region with a centrally-hosted and long-term image archive, until June 2016. The company has provided a 24/7 managed PACS service for the NHS since 2005 under the National Programme for IT.

Patients treated in corridors where units are too full

A new poll by the Royal College of Nurses has found that one in five nurses and health care assistants said patients were receiving care in corridors or other unsuitable areas every day due to units being too full.

The Telegraph says that the figure rose in A&E departments, where more than half of staff said it occurred daily, and one in five said it happened every hour.

Health service figures show the number of people attending A&E departments has risen by 60 percent in the past decade. Over the same period, the total number of hospital beds has fallen by 22 percent. Hospital managers say the reductions in bed numbers reflects increasing efficiency, and improvements in medical treatment so patients can be discharged more quickly, but the RCN says changes have gone too far.

Lessons learnt from Denmark and Canada

Often Denmark is cited as a good example of how healthcare can be delivered using innovative methods and this article provides further evidence of that. It looks at what can be learnt from Sygehus Lillebaelt, rated the best hospital in Denmark for the past five years. It has taken an innovative approach to IT, placed more importance on porters, ensuring a smooth experience for patients moving around the hospital and encouraged creativity among staff by testing ideas in small pilots.

Kenneth Seerup Joergensen, the hospital’s chief information officer is quoted as saying: “We like fiery souls who have good ideas and space to be able to think creative thoughts. When we find good new ideas, we try them out in a corner of the hospital, so we don’t risk the whole business.”

Looking across the ocean a question is also asked ‘what can the NHS learn from healthcare in Canada?’, as they have used innovation to support primary care integration across areas including Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

Dr Anne Snowdon, chair of the International Centre for Health Innovation believes that the question for healthcare leaders is: “How do we learn from the success and failures of innovative health initiatives across jurisdictions to adequately address challenges within our own health systems?”

News in brief

  • DH publishes corporate plan 2012-13: The DH has published its corporate plan, which sets out its priorities for the year ahead. The plan said a key priority will be the “successful change”, in delivering the transition to the NHS new system. It added that another priority was working with partners – building on what the DH does now and recognising that in the new system the department will be working differently. Finally, the DH will focus on transforming itself. The plan also elaborated on how the DH will help Andrew Lansley deliver his five strategic objectives.
  • Leading teaching hospital moves to standardised directory: Leeds teaching hospitals, one of UK’s largest NHS trusts, has shifted to Microsoft Active Directory as part of its £37m informatics strategy. Moving from a Novell platform, Eileen Jessop, the trust’s deputy director of informatics, told Guardian Government Computing: “We want to standardise with other NHS organisations and pull Leeds out the dark ages.”
  • Royal Berks sticks to May go-live: EHI reports that Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is planning to go live with Cerner Millennium this month. The trust has confirmed the go-live despite the publication of board minutes that reveal concern about its financial position and the management of such a major project.
  • Information Commissioner concern at risk register veto: Following the over-ruling last week by ministers to veto publication of the NHS transition risk register, National Health Executive has reported on the concern expressed by Christopher Graham, The Information Commissioner. He has said that the decision was “unjustified and against policy”. The veto – used for only the fourth time since the FoI laws came into force – “was used in the public interest”, according to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
  • Digital service launced for new parents: The DH has announced the NHS Information Service for Parents. Launched by the Prime Minister, this will give new parents information and advice covering a wide range of issues related to good parenting. By signing up to the service, parents-to-be and new parents will receive regular emails and text messages containing relevant and timely NHS approved advice as their pregnancy develops and as their child grows.
  • Numbers slashed around 18 week waiting times: According to figures published today by the Department of Health, almost 50,000 fewer patients are waiting longer than 18 weeks to start treatment since May 2010. The latest referral to treatment waiting times statistics also show that 59 hospitals now have no patients waiting longer than a year and 106 hospitals have less than 10 patients waiting longer than a year.


In the last of three lectures supporting the King’s Fund Review of Leadership, Richard Bohmer, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and international visiting fellow at the Fund gives his perspective on clinical leadership for service improvement. Watch the video to catch up with why he thinks it is important for clinicians to be involved in leadership roles and how clinicians should lead.


It’s that time of year again to submit an entry to the EHI 2012 awards. This year there are twelve categories and the closing date for entries is Friday 1st June 2012. Nominations have also opened for the Healthcare IT Champion of the Year with 20th July as the deadline. So time to think who should proceed last year’s winner, James Norman, IT director of Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust. All the winners will be unveiled at this year’s awards dinner, which will be at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, London, on 4th October.

Highland Marketing blog

This week Laura Steward appeals for clarity around the use of acronyms in the world of healthcare IT.

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