Performance of Patient Information Systems is Critical to NHS Trust
Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust is a 619 bed acute hospital (excluding day care and community beds) providing services from four main sites. The largest hospital site is based in Northampton town centre providing a full range of acute services; the other hospital site is Danetre Hospital in Daventry, providing further acute and rehabilitation services. The Trust also provides rehabilitation care at Isebrook Hospital in Wellingborough and Corby Community Hospital.
The Trust provides generate acute services for a population of 380,000 and specialist stroke, vascular and renal services to the whole of Northamptonshire, a population of 684,000. The Trust is also a cancer centre delivering cancer services to a wider population of 880,000 to the whole of Northamptonshire and parts of Buckinghamshire.
Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust holds essential patient information on its PAS system which is used as a patient master index. This is a healthcare specific database that assigns each patient with a unique identifier to ensure they are represented only once across all Trust software systems. The essential patient data includes all demographic information, hospital admission and discharge dates, etc.
The Trust uses an integration engine application to distribute patient demographics from the patient master index to its various clinical systems to ensure data quality between all systems; this constant querying generates more than 4 messages per second. Round the clock system availability and speed of information flow are vital to ensure efficient handling of patient information.
Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust was using a previous version of everRun software but requirements had changed: they needed the flexibility of running 64bit multi-core environments for the integration engine but still have the ability to protect to system fault tolerance. The Trust IT Team had read about the more recent versions of Stratus everRun and were aware they needed to upgrade. They contacted 24/7 Uptime who engaged with the Trust to provide a suitable solution.
After assessing the Trust’s requirements, it was agreed that an upgrade to everRun MX Enterprise* was the best course of action as this protects multi-core critical environments to the highest levels with system fault tolerance. Zero downtime was extremely important, as was the ability to run on more than one processor; this would dramatically improve processing speed and eliminate any bottlenecks.
During the pre-install due diligence, 24/7 Uptime advised on necessary upgrades to the existing hardware. Software installation was then a two stage process: the first stage involved the Stratus everRun MX Enterprise platform being loaded and tested on site; basic troubleshooting advice and knowledge transfer took place and supporting installation-specific documentation was provided. The Trust IT Team then loaded the integration engine application and 24/7 Uptime engineers undertook final post go-live testing as the second stage of the project.
Performance of this system is really critical to the Trust. On the old system we were starting to get close to capacity purely because of the volumes involved. It's essential to the smooth running of the hospital that the flow of patient information is transferred quickly between clinical systems; therefore we understood the urgency of upgrading to everRun MX Enterprise to ensure that we maintained real time message flow without backlogs. I found 24/7 Uptime to be a very flexible and motivated solutions provider. They were able to understand the Trust's issues and offer solutions that not only addressed the immediate problems but would also allow us to scale up and out in the future. They have provided excellent support throughout and I would not hesitate to work with them again for a project of this nature.