InfoFlex Rheumatology System at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
The InfoFlex Rheumatology system was installed by Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHNT) to improve the handling of rheumatology data, increase patient safety and save time.
Key improvements following InfoFlex implementation
- Data more readily available
- Patient safety increased by reducing the risk of compromised data
- Easily accessible evidence of following protocols for appropriate drug use
- Potential for development of a web-based system using tablet computers for patient reported outcome measures
- Streamlining of data retrieval and prescription signing
- The electronic system simplifies tasks and saves time
Ease of Use
- A practical and flexible user-friendly system
- Ownership of design by staff
- Changes easily made by users without need for submitting change requests
- Staff and InfoFlex worked in conjunction to create an optimal system for purpose
- Helpful advice by email where necessary
‘InfoFlex was identified by staff as uniquely flexible, a highly desired element to suit their working practices.’
Previous to installing InfoFlex, the rheumatology department at PHNT did not use an electronic system. Following the success in installing electronic systems experienced by nearby hospitals such as Torbay, the decision was made to upgrade to a flexible electronic system. They chose InfoFlex due to its usability and adaptability, from a shortlist of three systems. InfoFlex was identified by staff as uniquely flexible, a highly desired element to suit their working practices.
Improvements in safety and an increase in efficacy were PHNT’s main aims. Concerns surrounded the fact that patient safety could be compromised if, for example, their data was lost, which could be eliminated through the use of electronic data as opposed to hard copies. Using a paper system meant that administration was time consuming, particularly when retrieving data.
InfoFlex provides a solution to these problems in the form of a practical and user-friendly system. With the InfoFlex Rheumatology system, users have ownership of the design and can make changes to it as and when it suits them, as opposed to submitting change requests to a central team or supplier, sometimes waiting several months for a result.
‘Informal feedback from staff has been positive, and a marked improvement in usability has been reported.’
InfoFlex began liaising with PHNT in August 2012 to discuss an information solution for Rheumatology. Having completed training and user testing, the InfoFlex Rheumatology system went live at PHNT in May 2014.
Staff at PHNT worked alongside InfoFlex to design an interface that would suit their working practices. After negotiating links between their various other IT systems, for example their patient management software, user testing in increasing capacities followed until the majority of staff were confident in using the system.
Rheumatology consultant Dr Owen Moore, who was involved in designing the PHNT system, said, “I worked with InfoFlex implementer Stephen Hayes. We got email advice and were back and forth with various people, who in general were very helpful.
“We had quite a lot of freedom to design screens. It looks the way we wanted it to look.”
PHNT began its user-testing phase with doctors, which soon expanded to include nurses and other allied staff. Informal feedback from staff has been positive, and a marked improvement in usability has been reported. Staff recognise that although problems are inevitable in installing a completely new electronic system, the implementation process has been smooth and largely as expected.
According to Stephen Hayes, staff at PHNT picked up the training well. Mr Hayes said, “They have great ideas for working slowly through their processes, and making time savings for secretaries and nurses with new documents and worklists. I suspect that they will, over a number of months, make the system work even better for them.”
Benefits of using the InfoFlex Rheumatology system
“The results are all to hand and it’s quicker and safer.”
The InfoFlex Rheumatology system is now in full use at PHNT with over 8000 patients on the system, and is meeting expectations. Staff have confirmed that the system simplifies tasks that were previously time consuming or needlessly complicated, such as data retrieval or the signing of multiple prescriptions.
Dr Moore said: “The results are all to hand and it’s quicker and safer.”
In addition to making data recording and retrieval more efficient, the InfoFlex Rheumatology system is also streamlining the PHNT’s audit process. Having data to hand allows them to present information to their commissioners and to easily prove, if necessary, that they are using certain high-cost or high-risk drugs appropriately.
“The trust is interested to continue working with InfoFlex on a web-based Rheumatology system, with the potential to use tablets for PROMs questionnaires.”
PHNT is looking to use the InfoFlex Rheumatology system to capture more patient reported outcome measures (PROMs). The trust is interested to continue working with InfoFlex on a web-based Rheumatology system, with the potential to use tablets for PROMs questionnaires.
Dr Moore said: “It’s a very powerful way of knowing how the patients are doing, getting data and providing that data to the audits.”
“I think [the] ability for patients to see their own data is certainly quite a powerful thing.”
Other potential areas of interest for the future could include: Remote Monitoring for Rheumatology, Fracture Liaison Service (FLS), Patient Alerting and interfacing.