Continuity of patient care has improved with maternity units establishing links for sharing obstetric ultrasound scans between hospitals across the Oxford AHSN region where there are 30,000 births each year.
The acute hospital provider trusts in the Oxford AHSN region use different data collection systems. This makes it difficult to share information, particularly on patients referred between trusts, causing inconvenience to patients and clinicians as well as potential risks.
The Oxford AHSN Maternity Clinical Network has focused on improving the connectivity of ultrasound systems working with most partner trusts in the region.
Improvements achieved include:
- Clinicians better able to offer advice remotely, reducing unnecessary hospital visits for patients and improved continuity of care
- Better access to up-to-date information at patient consultations
- Fewer missing records
- Improved use of data to support service audit
- Identified areas needing improvement
“Access to the system has proved invaluable. Access has enabled us to view appointment details and also to view and print reports once the patient has been seen. This has reduced the amount of time we historically had to spend chasing appointment and report information enabling us to provide an improved service to our patients and making more efficient and effective use of time. It has made a real and significant difference for us and our patients and improved the service we offer.” – Susan Tunnacliffe, Antenatal Screening Co-ordinator, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
National AHSN priorities addressed
- Promoting health equality and best practice
- Speeding up adoption of innovation into practice to improve clinical outcomes
- Building a culture of partnership and collaboration
- Positive experience of treatment and care
- Treating people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm
- A region-wide maternity dashboard will be developed allowing comparison of key performance outcome measures, led by the Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network Maternity Network.
- As additional trusts acquire suitable ultrasound scanning software, they will be added to the connected system. Complete area-wide connection is anticipated in 2017.
Tips for adoption
Ensure leadership from lead clinicians at each trust to support the case for change, and the involvement of local IT helpdesk staff for post-implementation support.
Katherine Edwards, Oxford AHSN Maternity Clinical Network Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org