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Axsys helps roll out a computerised Chlamydia screening system

AxSys Technology : 14 May, 2007  (New Product)
Axsys has assisted Greater Manchester Chlamydia Screening Programme to roll out its new Chlamydia Screening and Management Information System.
Set up by the Greater Manchester NHS Primary Care Trusts, the Manchester Programme is now one of 16 screening areas within England that has been created as a result of the Department of Health National Chlamydia Screening Programme introduced in 2002.

The Chlamydia Screening and Management Information System went live in November 2006 and was an essential element in the development of the 'RU Clear' Chlamydia Screening Programme launched in October 2006.

Covering a region with a population of 3.2 million, this new programme was set up in response for the need to develop a centrally co-ordinated Chlamydia Office to manage all patients through the screening process and to take responsibility for education and raising awareness of the disease.

The new system has helped to streamline the operational day to day process of running the 'RU Clear' Programme and facilitate the collation of information and completion of mandatory quarterly CDSC reports for the Department of Health (DoH).

Automating the process of data collection has dramatically improved data quality which has had a positive bearing on audit and clinical governance and patient turnaround times.

The system has also enhanced the efficiency and productivity of the screening programme giving better access to the Chlamydia service and has enabled the development of integrated care records therefore providing clinicians with reference material at the point of care.

Emma Flynn, programme manager for the screening service stated: 'Before the 'RU Clear' Programme was launched we began a review of our IT requirements as we realised that without a robust system the programme could fail'.

'Becoming a paper based office was simply not feasible as in terms of collating documentation and following audit procedures it would become a slow and laborious task and we had to reduce the time in which it was taking to collate relevant data for DoH reports.

'We also realised that our target population of 15 to 24 year olds was growing to in excess of 350,000 and that we needed to improve communication and co-ordination with the 100 plus organisations that are involved with Chlamydia screening, including 10 Primary Care Trusts.

'It became evident that an effective computerised management and audit system was vital to maintain standards of service delivery and patient care'.

A project team was set up which consisted of both clinical and administrative staff to ensure the new system would suit the needs of the programme.

Its key objectives were to find a solution that would follow a patient centric process, streamline the screening process and enhance service provision, reduce administrative time used by clinicians, improve patient access to the Chlamydia service, facilitate clinical governance and audit, integrate with the screening laboratories and have the ability to grow with the increasing numbers of patients.

'Selecting AxSys was a very straight forward decision,' commented Flynn.
'The Wirral Chlamydia Screening Programme was provided as a reference and it was clear from this that the Excelicare solution could provide all that we required.
We looked briefly at other systems but these had no where near the same levels of functionality'.

'Other key differentiators included the bespoke nature of Excelicare in that it could be developed specifically to suit the way that we wanted it to work, its ability to integrate with the laboratories where samples were tested so we could receive all results electronically, its ability to handle high volumes of patients and critically the ad hoc reporting functions which would enable us to instruct the system specifically to collate information for several different types of reports'.

The Chlamydia Office now effectively manages and co-ordinates the whole of the Screening Programme for Greater Manchester.

The office acts as the link for all testing clinics, handles the processing of all sample results and communication with the patient including organising treatment and partner follow-up.

The office also has an educational role in terms of organising campaigns to increase the awareness of the disease to encourage screening.

With eight users of the CS and MIS, including both clinical and administrative staff, the office currently processes over 400 patients every week and is aiming towards increasing this number to 1000 per week by April 2008, a target set by the DoH.

Flynn further stated: 'Meeting targets and objectives is an essential element of being part of a national programme and the importance of generating information for performance and audit reports is becoming more and more imperative'.

'I believe that without our CS and MIS we would struggle to run the programme as efficiently as we do now and have any hope of reaching targets set down by the NCSP.

'Another key highlight is the improvement in patient care which is demonstrated by the fact that over 90 percent of all patients are notified within two working days of results being issued from the laboratory, a major achievement considering we are dealing with such high volumes.

'Everything is just a much smother process now, no more manual letters and staff have more time to complete their responsibilities and deal with the patients and care has also improved ten fold through the better management and accuracy of clinical and patient information.

'The system also enables us to compare figures across the region and monitor where there is a growing prevalence of the disease and monitor the success or not of regular awareness campaigns that we run'.

Commenting on the Greater Manchester Chlamydia Screening Programme, Dr Pradeep Ramayya, CEO AxSys Technology stated: 'A successful programme depends on good, sustainable IT and I believe the CS and MIS is already making a difference'.

'Our hope is that Excelicare will be utilised across other regional sites which will help to introduce some standardisation and ability to meet the goals and objectives set down by the NCSP'.

'However, the development of these systems is part of our ongoing objective to deliver wider benefits across all other Sexual Health Services'.

The module used for the 'RU Clear' Chlamydia Screening Programme was developed using Excelicare's powerful Designer Toolkit meaning that all information is captured at each patient event.

Starting with the screening sample, all test results are delivered electronically back to the Chlamydia office which generates automatic prompts for the patient to be notified so that the correct course of action is taken for either negative or positive results.

This ensures that correct treatment protocols are followed whilst documenting the clinical care pathway for each patient.

Also management of the care process via the system means that patient notes are available on the desktop where and when required.

Excelicare's Report Manager is used everyday as it provides a constant record of what stage the patient is at in their treatment plan.

This facility also enables data collection for audit and reporting purposes.
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