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A key component of the service is an integrated workflow, which provides for the pre-population, completion and approval of the form, and an alerting and broadcasting function for sharing the forms with social care organisations. Full user administration is provided for registration and access to the service, based on user access levels. The service also supports navigation and image management, for medical records personnel and clinicians alike.

Users of the system can access the service using an internet-enabled device from any location. A full audit trail is provided for governance and management control.

Mr Mohamed Moalin, Patient Flow Co-ordinator at Whipps Cross Hospital Barts Health NHS Trust says, ‘The objective for this project was to have an automated admission and discharge forms service to make the creation and sending of notifications of transfers of care (Sections 2 & 5, Community Care (Delayed Discharges, etc) Act 2003, (as amended) easier, more accurate and timelier. Some of the benefits since going live include:

  • Reduces paperwork by automating key processes
  • Eases the work involved in completing the Section 2 & 5 forms by automating the population of the patient’s demographic details. This helps us ensure that patient discharge and transfer to Social Care is handled speedily and consistently, and without errors
  • Ability to enter the information via mandatory fields ensuring that any essential information is not omitted
  • Automatic inclusion of a date/time stamp on each form
  • Eases the location of the forms as they are automatically saved under the patient’s name and hospital number
  • Reduces time wasted using a fax and no more worrying whether the fax has been received or inadvertently sent to the wrong destination
  • Ability for online audits to be carried out if necessary. For example, how many referrals were received per week/month, etc
  • No misunderstandings between Hospital Ward staff and Social Care, as all referrals are saved online

There are strict rules and an error checking system in place to ensure the correct procedures are followed. For instance, a Section 5 can only be raised after a Section 2 has been sent. Similarly, error messages will be displayed if the rules are challenged.’

Mr Moalin continues to say, ‘the service also compares entered values with previous form values to warn if a value may have been entered incorrectly (for example, when a form with the same hospital number or family name has already been raised but has a different NHS number and family name). These warnings help ensure that forms are accurate and also flag up patients who have multiple hospital numbers. It is very important to us to use the forms consistently with all our local authority partners’.

Stephen Rapicano, Managing Director at IGspectrum says, ‘we have been working closely with Whipps Cross Hospital Barts Health NHS Trust to understand their requirements. We have already implemented this service at the Royal Free London and we were able to make some minor configuration changes to the basic service to ensure a smooth and successful transition at Whipps Cross'.

Mr Rapicano continues to explain how the service works. ‘The Admission and Discharge e-Forms are available in the wards and are pre-populated from the NHS number with patient demographic information. Once a form is completed it is automatically made available to the Discharge Team for review and approval.

Once approved, the form is automatically submitted to the appropriate Social Care organisation via a secure email or ITK/CDA compliant message. This service provides an easy to use and implement service that allows data sharing and collaboration across care boundaries to the benefit of vulnerable adults.

At the same time it delivers significant savings in terms of reducing unnecessary use of hospital beds and overnight stays, and ensures that patient transfer to Social Care organisations is handled speedily, consistently and with a full audit trail.'