Enterprise Software

Alder Hey CIO on going paperless, face-recognition tech and putting off Lorenzo

CIO interview: Dr Zafar Chaudry, Alder Hey Children's Hospital

...the majority of bookings at the two hospitals and has allowed them to hit government targets stipulating that the majority of patients should wait no longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment after being referred by their GP.

"Most patients are coming through Choose and Book - it has delivered the bookings system that people wanted."

Pacs is a central database that allows hospitals to store and access digital images of X-rays, CT and other hospital scans.

Chaudry said it had allowed scan results to be accessed far more quickly: "I think that it's one of the real big wins in the [NPfIT] that has significantly reduced the wait times.

"Before, whether it was a routine exam or not, it could take a couple of days before you could have a result.

"Now you can get your result in less than a day if it's just a routine image. If it's an emergency they can do it straight away."

Pacs particularly benefits the women's hospital, which sometimes relies on radiologists based at the nearby Royal Liverpool University Hospital to analyse X-ray scans and previously had to transport scans by secure courier.

alder hey cio

The Pacs X-ray system is helping speed up the process of accessing scan results
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Underpinning these applications is the high bandwidth N3 network provided under the NPfIT, which prioritises traffic for applications like Pacs over that of standard internet traffic.

The digital nature of Pacs is also a good fit for the hospitals' goal of being an almost entirely paperless environment by 2014, an aspiration that is given an additional edge by the design of Alder Hey's new hospital.

"There isn't any space in the new hospital to be storing records," Chaudry said.

"We're getting there as far as a paperless environment is concerned and the Meditech system is capable of running as a paperless environment."

Nurses at the two hospitals both file and record notes electronically but doctors still rely on paper records to carry out their job.

In his drive to get the doctors to ditch paper Chaudry is enlisting the help of a new digital dictation service provided by speech-to-text company Nuance.

Doctors in three departments at the women's hospital will trial the software which will allow them to dictate reports directly into a telephone or a handheld PDA and it will be automatically transcribed and stored on the hospital system.

The software will also recognise the nature of the information that is being dictated and organise it into a standardised format.

Chaudry added it will also improve patient safety: "The biggest problem we have at the moment is if somebody does a discharge summary for a patient.

"A discharge summary can have three different looks to it, depending on how it's transcribed and how it's typed up, with this system it doesn't matter how you dictate it, it will always place it in a standardised template.

"That is safer for the patient because there's less scope for misinterpretation."

The Nuance system also...

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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