Merseyside NHS improves patient care and efficiency with Ericom's WebConnect RemoteView
Customers

Merseyside NHS improves patient care and efficiency with Ericom's WebConnect RemoteView

Industry

Healthcare

Custome

Informatics Merseyside

Product

        PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView


Challenges

  • Provide remote access to EMIS patient record system for mobile clinicians
  • Allow clinicians to use their own devices, such as iPads, or employer-supplied tablets
  • Prevent patient data from being compromised if a user's device is stolen or lost

Solution

  • Deploy Ericom's PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView
  • Introduce a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy

Benefits

  • Facilitates improved quality of care for patients
  • Delivers significant time savings for GPs and community nurses
  • Supports QIPP and government efficiency objectives for the NHS
  • Enables the introduction of BYOD
  • Reduces the risk of data loss, as no data is stored on mobile devices
  • Allows for cost effective to roll out to a large user base due to concurrent licencing

"As a key component of our I'M Mobile programme, RemoteView gives community-based doctors and nurses improved real-time access to patient records, enabling them to provide quality care, efficiently. "
Steven Parker
Technical Innovations Lead, Informatics Merseyside

Background

The UK government has challenged the NHS to make up to €20 billion worth of efficiency savings by 2015, to free up more money for patient care. It is with an innovative solution from Ericom that this challenge is being met.

Informatics Merseyside has used Ericom's RemoteView to support its I'M Mobile initiative and provide a remote working solution for doctors and community-based nurses. Driven by QIPP, the successful proof of concept trial demonstrated that the solution can save clinicians many hours of time every year, improving their efficiency and developing their ability to deliver fast, appropriate care in the community.

At Informatics Merseyside, innovation isn't simply encouraged; it's expected. This progressive organisation is constantly seeking, trialling and implementing innovative new ways to increase the efficiency of the NHS and improve patient care across Merseyside.

A programme of innovation

Informatics Merseyside delivers IT services that are shared by a wide range of NHS organisations, including general and specialist hospitals, community health trusts, clinical commissioning groups and doctors' surgeries. Operating in the Liverpool area, in a region known as the 'Merseyside Health Economy', it delivers IT services and support to approximately 28,000 healthcare workers, 18,000 IT devices and 750,000 patients. The organisation is renowned for its innovative use of technology and is passionate about finding creative new ways to help its partners improve the quality of patient care, as efficiently as possible.

In 2012, Informatics Merseyside launched a programme called I'M Mobile, which aimed to provide clinicians with remote access to key applications, from any mobile device. In particular, the organisation wanted to give medical practitioners remote access to EMIS, a specialised application used by 85% of clinicians in Merseyside to maintain patient records, book appointments and manage care. To ensure the success of the programme, the organisation had to deliver a mobile platform with exceptional reliability and performance.

As a key part of this ground-breaking project, Informatics Merseyside wanted to make it possible for clinicians to access patient records using any laptop or tablet computer - whether these were users' own devices or devices supplied by their employer. "Tablet computers have crept into the majority of organisations and people want to be able to use their own devices in their work," says Steven Parker, technical innovations lead at Informatics Merseyside. "We therefore needed a remote access system that was truly device agnostic."

A successful proof of concept

After carrying out thorough research, Informatics Merseyside selected Ericom's WebConnect RemoteView, a server-based solution that allows users to connect to applications remotely from any device, using just a modern Internet browser. RemoteView offers good value for money as it has a concurrent licensing model, meaning that organisations do not have to purchase separate licenses for each individual user. Initially, Informatics Merseyside decided to conduct a proof of concept trial, involving twenty five general practitioners (GPs) and four community nurses from Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust. Many of the GPs in the trial had their own Apple iPad tablet computers and wished to use these devices at work. The remaining users were supplied with either iPads or Samsung Galaxy tablets that used the Android operating system. Informatics Merseyside was able to deploy the Ericom solutions quickly and easily itself and benefited from Ericom's guidance throughout the entire process. "Ericom was supportive and responsive all the way," Parker recalls. The trial was an unequivocal success. "It just worked!" Parker exclaims. "It did exactly what we needed it to do! The feedback we had from the nurses involved in the proof of concept was unbelievable. They told us that they would now be completely lost without this mobile capability."

A more efficient NHS

Using RemoteView from tablet devices, GPs and community nurses can access the full capabilities of EMIS (as opposed to the cut-down capabilities of EMIS-web) and all their patient records whenever and wherever they need them. Without the Ericom solution, nurses have to go back to GP surgeries to get patient records or return to their desks to make and change appointments, which wastes a lot of time. Now, using RemoteView, community nurses can look up medical details, and make and change appointments on the go.

Most GPs take paper print-outs of patient records with them when they do home visits. They then write notes on these pages and type them into EMIS when they return to their surgeries. In contrast, if they use RemoteView, they have instant access to patient records and can make updates directly into EMIS from their tablets during consultations with patients.

The time savings that result from the use of Ericom solutions can free up many hours during the course of a year, allowing GPs and community nurses to spend more time with patients. They no longer require as much time at their desks or have to allow time to print patient records, so can fit in more home visits and generally improve the efficiency of their services.

A better quality of care

With up-to-date information at their fingertips, GPs and community nurses can deliver a better quality of care to patients. They no longer have to rely on the patients themselves, and their carers, to find out about medical history, which may or may not be accurate. Instead, they can use their tablet computers to connect to EMIS using RemoteView and check medication previously prescribed, family histories and other factors. They can then make the best decisions about medication and treatment, to ensure patients receive the best possible care.

When a GP visits a patient at home and changes his medication, that change might not be noted in EMIS until the next morning, when the GP gets into the surgery and types up his notes. However, if there is an emergency overnight and an on-call doctor or district nurse is called out, they will not be aware of the change in medication because EMIS is not completely up-to-date. In contrast, if GPs use RemoteView to update EMIS records on the spot, other clinicians can instantly see the most accurate information about the patient and can deliver more appropriate emergency medical care.

The Ericom solution also helps to protect patient confidentiality. There have been several recent incidents, in the UK and abroad, when laptops have been stolen or disposed of incorrectly, and sensitive patient data has been compromised. RemoteView eliminates this risk, as no patient data is stored on tablets or laptops.

A blueprint for the future

Informatics Merseyside's I'M Mobile programme is hugely significant - both within the Merseyside Health Economy and the entire NHS. This is because this successful programme is a clear demonstration of QIPP. Standing for Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention, QIPP is a government programme that aims to improve the quality of services, while making cost savings. By helping Informatics Merseyside to both improve NHS efficiency and raise standards of patient care, the Ericom solution is clearly an example of QIPP in action.

Following the completion of the successful proof of concept trial, Informatics Merseyside now expects many of its partner organisations to take advantage of RemoteView, including up to 600 GPs from 149 surgeries and 1700 community nurses. "I expect a large proportion of community-based clinicians to adopt this system," Parker says. "Across the entire Merseyside Health Economy, there could soon be thousands of users of RemoteView."

Informatics Merseyside believes that its use of Ericom products for EMIS is truly innovative and plans to make it possible for clinicians to use RemoteView to gain mobile access to more desktop applications in the future. "I don't think any other health areas have adopted a similar approach yet," Parker comments. "Merseyside is the first or certainly one of the first regions to really enable agile working and provide remote access to the full capabilities of EMIS via tablet computers."




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