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March 2014

Traffic control technology eases gridlock

Dashboard provides managers real-time views of unscheduled care 

NHS Wales software teams have now made it possible for the integrated unscheduled care dashboard to display the information coming from A&E systems with a refresh rate every ten minutes, so NHS Manager's can see the number of ambulances waiting at an A&E department across Wales in nearly real time.

It also displays a wealth of other data showing whether there are any bottlenecks from admission through to discharge. This includes highlighting care for over 85s as it is recognised this patient group have complex health and social needs which need managing. 

It is the first time that NHS Managers have been able to  build a bigger picture of both winter pressure and unscheduled care information across Wales, bringing together data from primary and secondary care, as all health organisations have worked together to make it possible.

Data is fed directly to the dashboard from a variety of existing systems including the Welsh Ambulance's call handling system and alerts or warnings will also be flashed up on the home page of the dashboard when a major incident or extreme weather occurs.


 "The dashboard was great for performance data previously but it now allows staff to see the activity of what is happening in the health service in the here and now and at the same time they can see data from all organisations, including Primary Care where previously this wasn't available in one view." 


Dr Grant Robinson, Unscheduled Care Improvement Lead

It also helps Public Health teams with incidences of flu, infectious diseases, diarrhoea and vomiting, the weather and more. 


The partnership working between the local health organisations and government in Wales, including the Welsh Ambulance Trust and Public Health, with the support of NWIS information and software design teams,  will continue to make the dashboard even more useful in the future.

There are plans to link the dashboard to the patient administration systems in Wales to automate bed, admission and discharge data in the future. 

Health Informatics field expands
HIQualificationsNew qualifications provide more opportunities in a growing field
 Four new qualifications in the field of health informatics have been unveiled by Agored Cymru, an organisation dedicated to developing qualifications and credits to meet the needs of learners in Wales, NWIS and partner organisations.
These new qualifications are designed to meet the requirements of a variety of informatics assistant and practitioner roles, including ward clerks, project support staff and information specialists. They support continuing competence and professional development that allows learners to tailor their learning to their job role. 
Two of the new qualifications form the basis of the new apprenticeships framework which is compliant with the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales. The other qualifications are open to staff currently working in a related role in health or social care.
The new qualifications have received formal approval from the Department for Education and Skills, Skills for Health, the Department of Health, NWISand a steering group in Wales made up of employers and health informaticians from every health board.
NWIS Head of Learning and Professional Development, Wendy Dearing, said, "We believe these new qualifications are a further step in strengthening the professionalism of health informatics and will open up opportunities for individuals, whether they are just starting out in health informatics, wanting to enhance their current career or as a pathway to move into new opportunities."

Radiotherapy data aids care in Wales

Pilot gives clinicians access to vital reports


Clinicians in the three radiotherapy centres in Wales are piloting a new data collection system that supports them in providing the best service for delivering radiotherapy treatment, one of the primary methods for treating cancer.


For the first time, radiotherapists, medical physicists and clinical oncologists in Wales will have direct access to radiotherapy reports that will help to improve care once the pilot which is taking place now is fully launched.


Most radiotherapy is carried out using linear accelerators, run by databases which store every detail of every treatment given.  These machines contain a huge volume of very high quality clinical data which can help inform and support clinical outcome measures and service planning. 


Using data combined from the radiotherapy machines and hospital Patient Administration Systems, a range of reports will now be available to Welsh clinicians that will help inform the ongoing development, provision and effectiveness of radiotherapy services in Wales.  These reports will be provided via a web service through a partnership between NHS Wales and England.


"This is a vital development for radiotherapy services in Wales," says Tom Crosby, Clinical Director of Velindre NHS Trust. "Patients and clinicians have every right to expect access to the best cancer services in the UK, and this will allow us to benchmark the service we deliver in Wales with the best services in England. The beauty of this system is that it automates collection of performance information directly from source, in this case the radiotherapy machines."



Informatics in Numbers
In January 2014, ServicePoint, the NHS Wales IT Service Managment system took 40,656 calls.
Informatics @ Events
Wales in Manchester 


There's just a day left to register to attend the National Health IT HC2014 conference in Manchester on 19 and 20 March.


Clinical and informatics professionals from NHS Wales will provide insight into the successes and challenges of the national IT programme, which is well into the implementation phase, with many national services in pervasive use across Wales.


There will also be a preview of plans for a new information and technology strategy to integrate health and social care records and deliver future innovation.


To learn more, or if you would like to attend, go to hc2014.bcs.org

Informatics in Words
Investing in our workforce 
"It is vital that we continue to support the continuous improvement of informatics in the NHS by investing in the development of a flexible and sustainable workforce. This can be achieved by providing real opportunities for learners of all ages to develop their knowledge, skills and experience. By offering learners at all stages of their career the opportunity to gain new qualifications in health informatics we are not only investing in our workforce but also recognising their achievements."
Sue Saunders, Curriculum Development Manager for Health and Social Care at Agored Cymru announcing new qualifications in the health informatics field (see story on left).
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