With over 15 years’ experience in health messaging and information sharing, our experienced team provide advice and guidance on strategy, solution and technical design to a wide client base.
Choose and Book is a national electronic referral service at the heart of the NHS Connecting for Health project which gives patients a choice of place, date and time for their first outpatient appointment in a hospital or clinic. Crucial to its success is the need to ensure that GPs know how to use the service and understand what it can do.
To do this, the NHS asked Quicksilva to provide it with a version of the system that could be run within Internet Explorer on a PC or laptop with no internet or software requirements. This could then be taken to medical centres up and down the country for face-to-face tuition on how to use the system.
The Choose and Book Unplugged application developed by Quicksilva has now become the training and demonstration tool of choice within numerous NHS departments and affiliated organisations. This now means that more and more patients are able to instantly get the appointment they want and at a time of their choosing.
The English National Screening Programme for Diabetic Retinopathy (ENSPDR) provides advice and support to Strategic Health Authorities, PCTs and local programmes that implement diabetic retinopathy screening initiatives. With 100 programmes up and down the country, it’s no easy task.
Every year the ENSPDR collates vital reports that shape the delivery of the programmes, identifying successes and where there is room for improvement. Drowning under a tsunami of unformatted and non-standardised data, it was taking what seemed like forever to compile these reports.
The ENSPDR turned to Quicksilva, which created EARS an online reporting tool. A revelation, EARS is a win-win for all concerned. It’s easier for the programmes to submit the data required and the ENSPDR can collate the report faster helping it to improve its service and reduce the risk of sight loss amongst diabetics.
The National Institute for Health Research is tasked with improving the quality, relevance and focus of research in the NHS and social care across England. A crucial part of this is identifying and recruiting the right people to participate in studies. Running so many studies creates vast volumes of data making it increasingly hard to navigate a sea of Excel spreadsheets.
To overcome this issue Quicksilva developed a bespoke system called PCRN Practices. A one-stop-shop for the management of research studies, PRCN Practices allows NIHR to target relevant individuals to participate in studies in a number of ways that improve the quality of research and overall operational efficiency. Originally trialled in one region, it’s proved to be successful and a wider implementation is planned.
The NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is a multi billion pound project to develop and deliver modern IT systems across all care settings within England. At the heart of the design is a message based communications architecture based on the Health Level 7 (HL7) messaging standard.
Quicksilva personnel have been key in setting up the NHS NPfIT Messaging and Communications team, and creating the methodology used. Our architects were also responsible for the development of the current version of the messaging toolset in use by the NHS and its suppliers. Quicksilva have provided staff on a long and short term basis to support the needs of the NHS in the messaging arena.
The NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is a multi billion pound project to develop and deliver modern IT systems across all care settings within England.
Quicksilva have been involved with the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), virtually since its inception. Initially, our role involved the development of the strategy to support the needs for IS/IT within the NHS as described within the – the “Wanless Report” - and “Delivering 21st Century IT”.
The team took these inputs and produced a number of strategic outputs working with members of the NHS Information Authority, industry architects and the wider NHS.
This work was undertaken between January 2003 and April 2003. The knowledge vested in the team was not lost and each member progressed to other parts of the Connecting for Health project, where we continued to work on the scoping and planning of the detailed releases.
The NHS had a requirement for a version of the Choose and Book system that could be run on a PC or laptop with no internet or software requirements. It had to provide more functionality than a simple PowerPoint presentation yet with minimal software and hardware requirements and had to run within Internet Explorer to provide as close an approximation as possible.
Further development has since focussed on the replication of GP System functionality within a web-based environment.
The Choose and Book Unplugged application has been widely used as a training and demonstration tool within numerous NHS departments and affiliated organisations.
A key deliverable of Connecting for Health’s (NHS CFH) National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) is the Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions Service (EPS). This service enables prescribing GPs to generate prescriptions which are electronically sent to the relevant dispensing service or pharmacy and also to the Prescription Pricing Authority. A key deadline in the development of EPS was to have an implementation of both a prescribing and dispensing service offering core ETP functionality available online by the end of January 2005.
In 10 weeks Quicksilva developed and implemented (including passing through NHS CFH compliance testing) the Naked Prescriber system. This incorporates a thin client application and message handling system which utilises NCRS smartcard authorisation and authentication.
All systems wishing to participate in the Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions Service must pass through Connecting for Health (NHS CFH) compliance testing. This process involves system testing in a sandpit environment to ensure that the correct exchange of messages occurs between the relevant systems and the Spine.
The capacity of the sandpit environment is limited and this combined with the high number of systems wishing to participate means that sandpit time is at a premium. To ensure judicious use of sandpit time Quicksilva worked with NHS CFH to develop a set of tools which could be used to validate ETP messages in an offline environment. The resultant Generic Message Renderers are now a prerequisite to entering compliance testing.
Health Level Seven (HL7) is an ANSI accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO) operating in the healthcare arena. Their objective is the production of standards or specifications in the clinical and administrative data domain. A variety of tools have been created to aid the development and interpretation of the specifications. These tools constitute the HL7 toolset are used by a number of HL7 members from around the world including the NHS.
As part of evolving the HL7 standard, HL7 opted to take the step of delivering version 3 of the standard using XML.
The NHS has long since adopted the use of the HL7 toolset in order to produce message definitions to support its system and service implementations. Therefore it was a natural evolution for the NHS to adopt HL7v3 to underpin the NHS NPfIT systems. Whilst HL7v3 is a defined and accepted standard NPfIT will become the first organisation to implement it.
To support this activity the need arose to build on the existing toolset. In addition to supporting the NPfIT Communications and Messaging team, Quicksilva have extended the HL7 toolset in support of the standard and NPfIT’s message development needs.
When UK Government legislation required the introduction of the Pension Credits service in November 2003, Quicksilva designed and developed the telephone application handling system used by Northern Ireland’s Social Security Agency’s Pensions Centre staff. The system guided a user through the application process and auto populated the resultant application forms that were then sent to the customer. This accurate and legible completion of application forms significantly reduced the turnaround of inappropriately completed forms which is the major problem for similar benefits application processes. Quicksilva worked in partnership with IBM to deliver the hosted service in a record development time of 12 weeks. The system went live without any software issues, on time and within the agreed budget.
One of Northern Ireland's Social Fund services is the provision of Crisis Loans. This is a discretionary decision based process that requires a highly trained user familiar with the extensive eligibility directions and award guidelines, who is also able to navigate and extract the necessary customer details from several DWP legacy systems. Quicksilva developed a Chordiant-based call centre system which enabled telephone application handling of Crisis Loans applications. By capturing the business rules relating to eligibility and award amounts in a workflow driven process providing decision support, users with only minimal experience were able to process applications. Through real-time read only data service integration with the legacy system it was also possible to present a single unified picture of a customer and their contact history. A further improvement was the introduction of auto-populated eforms to replace a task which had previously been completed manually.