Speedier and more secure transfer of cancer patient information across the acute trusts of the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw STP has been enabled by the InfoFlex inter-trust messaging system.

Inter-trust messaging is proving to be a highly beneficial system for the management of cancer pathways that move from secondary to tertiary organisations. At present the InfoFlex system is being used to transfer ENF (Early Notification Form) data sets across five acute trusts:  Barnsley Hospital NHS Trust, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.



      • Elimination of transcription errors
      • Improved speed and efficiency of data sharing between cancer centres
      • Patients can be treated in a more timely manner
      • Removes duplication of data entry
      • Potential to improve CWT (Cancer Waiting Times) performance
      • Supports IPT (Inter-Provider Transfer) minimum data set


Issues Addressed


The trusts were looking at the management of information along the cancer pathway for patients across the local area, with the intention of trying to improve the efficiency and safety of the transfer of that information along the pathway.

Previously, when a patient needed to be referred to a tertiary centre the referring trust generated a secondary to tertiary event in InfoFlex and created a document that pulled in the necessary information for a referral. This document was saved and sent as an email attachment via nhs.net. The receiving organisation then transferred the information from the ENF document into their own standalone InfoFlex system.

This was a manual process that involved the potential risk of transcription errors. Therefore, the key objectives in this complex project were to maximise the efficiency of data exchange across the trusts and to reduce the risk of transcription errors at the receiving organisations.




The project was funded centrally by the Working Together Partnership. The 5 centres previously mentioned collaborated on the project with the InfoFlex team. In the later delivery phase the project was led by Daniel Roberts, Senior Clinical Informatics Lead, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. By March 2017, 2 pilots had taken place and the system is now live and being rolled out progressively to cover all tumour sites.

Inter-trust messaging allows the ENF pre-defined data set to be transferred electronically between different instances of the InfoFlex cancer system via N3 (NHS National Network). The receiving organisation picks up the data set on a work list, reviews it then either accepts or rejects it. Assuming the referral is accepted and if that patient is already known by the tertiary centre, it can be automatically added to an existing InfoFlex cancer pathway. If the patient is not already known as a cancer patient in the tertiary centre then a cancer pathway is automatically created (consisting of a referral, diagnosis and treatment event) and the referral is added.

This pre-population of patient data into the CPT (Cancer Pathway Tracking) worklist is a speedier, more accurate and more efficient way of providing the data necessary for subsequent MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) discussions on the best course of treatment for a patient. Furthermore, the creation of the inter-trust messaging hub has laid the foundations for further significant data sharing projects across the region.


Next Steps    


Once the ENF system has been rolled out, the next stage of the inter-trust messaging project is to transfer tumour site specific MDT referral information across the 5 trusts