Welsh community services benefit for data capture solution


Consortium rolls our digital pen technology to improve services in the field

A consortium made up of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board (ABHB) and five Welsh local authorities has deployed an electronic data capture system that will help to save around £600,000 a year.

The system, delivered by Anoto and DevelopIQ, replaces the pen and paper forms traditionally used for recording patient information and the paper diaries and mobile phones for managing appointments with DevelopIQ’s PaperIQ technology, Anoto’s digital pen technology, and BlackBerry smartphones.

In addition to the potential operational cost savings, the new solution has saved carers an average of 10 minutes per patient visit as well as a significant reduction in travel expenses as, in the past, carers needed to return to the office after each patient visit to do necessary administrative tasks, fill out required forms and pick up new referrals. It has also given ABHB peace of mind when it comes to patient security as no assessments are missed and no visits are duplicated. Additionally, the resource team co-ordinator can track the referral workflow through every stage of the process, ensuring that patients receive the highest quality of care.

“One of the issues we face is that we have to keep patient identifiable information in the boundaries of the health board, and one of the things that this solution provides is our own BlackBerry Enterprise Server that's contained within our firewall,” said Jon Holmes, head of health informatics at ABHB. “The patient information that's been sent in and out has very strong encryption and meets the stringent security standards required. It also ensures the information stays within our network boundary at all times.”

With the new solution, carers fill out the patient forms using their digital pen on each patient visit. The Anoto digital pen sends an encrypted copy of the forms via Bluetooth to the BlackBerry smartphone, which pushes the information to the secure back-end patient database. This enables the original form to be left with the patient at their home and so underpins the objective of citizen empowerment whereby patients have access to their own notes which they can share with family and other carers. The care teams also use BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instead of texting to communicate in near real-time.

The innovative solution saw ABHB placed as runner-up in them Innovation in Public Sector category of the recent Blackberry Global Wireless Achievement Awards .

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“The work that ABHB has undertaken with this project underlines the importance of digital and mobile communications when it comes to patient care,” said Robert Bakewell, chief executive of DevelopIQ. “We worked closely with ABHB to provide it with a solution that would enable its community resource teams to provide excellent care, while reducing overheads and streamlining the data capture process. By using our PaperIQ technology and combining it with the digital pen technology from Anoto and the secure elements within BlackBerry smartphones, we were able to build a bespoke solution that would allow data transfer into a secure electronic format as soon as the care team wrote it down on paper.”