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Northampton strengthens clinical collaboration for faster, safer care with CareFlow Connect

23rd January 2020

Hospital ‘axes the fax’ with paperless clinician-to-clinician referrals

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust (NGH) has replaced a paper-based internal referral process that relied on fax machines with a secure paperless system powered by System C’s clinical collaboration system - CareFlow Connect. 

With the new system, internal referrals can be completed and sent between clinicians electronically in real-time on mobile devices with improved clinical coordination that delivers faster, safer care. 

NGH operates out of one main hospital site which provides general acute services for a population of 380,000.

The improvements and benefits

Improved efficiency and patient safety

CareFlow Connect has replaced handwritten information with clearer electronic text which avoids ambiguity and delays that could put patients at risk. 

Referrals using the real-time system can be dealt with in much shorter timescales. For example, the system delivers the referral instantly rather than via slow fax transmissions and physical green cards with vital information can no longer be mislaid and cause delay to patient care.  Anyone within a group can review a referral making the response turnaround time quicker as the system doesn’t rely on a physical green card being delivered to one individual’s desk.  Clinicians can also respond wherever they are, when it’s convenient, using their mobile device.

Supports national IT initiatives and strategic objectives

Adopting CareFlow Connect is part of NGH’s strategy to meet the national target for removing fax machines from NHS Trusts. The solution supports the NHS Long Term plan by delivering timely clinical information when and where it is needed and paperless working.

Improved metrics and audit

NGH now has visibility and traceability of internal referrals which it couldn’t previously capture. To date there have been 10,690 referrals sent between the specialities. The new data will help to inform process improvements and efficiency gains. The system is completely auditable so that staff can see who has viewed or updated the information. 

Ease of use and cost savings

CareFlow Connect’s intuitive design meant that NGH didn’t have to engage in a comprehensive training programme prior to implementing and the go live went smoothly, with very few issues recorded. Users were also happy that they could download the system onto their personal mobile devices rather than having to carry an additional device and Northampton had the added benefit of not having to buy additional hardware. 

The system can be accessed via a web link or through an app. Because it is a cloud-based solution, no information is stored directly on any mobile device and there is a two-factor authentication in order to log onto it.

Markus Bolton, joint chief executive of System C, said:

I’m really pleased that CareFlow Connect is rolling out so well at Northampton and the clinicians are so enthused. This is exactly why we develop solutions such as Connect. It’s all about giving NHS staff the tech they need to make their jobs easier, freeing them to concentrate on patient care.