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Tracking patient care

23 June 2011

Working at a laptop

A collaborative research project with the potential to improve the quality of care and cut risks within the NHS has won a significant global award.

The joint project between the Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics and the Velindre NHS Trust Cancer Centre, aims to enhance the current electronic information system used in hospitals for cancer care, resulting in a more efficient experience for patients.

The proposal, which uses workflow software to map a patient’s care path, beat international competition to be awarded a Global Gold Award for Excellence in Adaptive Case Management.

Teamwork and collaboration are key aspects of the modern healthcare process and for many patients this involves multi-professional care team members providing different services at distributed sites.

With current hospital information systems designed to support more traditional, static care processes, researchers at Cardiff are working on how to enhance the current system to support greater interaction and collaboration.

Developed in consultation with software developers, clinicians and other healthcare professionals, the system, which is still currently a prototype, tracks the treatment flow of a patient, scheduling and distributing actions, automatically issuing referral letters and gathering appropriate information from multiple resources in order to give enhanced support to the clinical decision making processes.

The project is being undertaken by Hessah Alsalamah, a PhD student in the Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics and lecturer in the department of Information Technology at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia.

Talking about the impact this system could have on the way patient information is handled, Hessah said: "The information system acts as the hub among the different parties involved in the treatment process and reacts to the specific information needs for each patient."

The School of Computer Science & Informatics has been working in partnership with the Clinical Information Unit (CIU) at Velindre hospital for more than twenty years.

Dave Morrey, Head of Clinical Information at Velindre said: "Velindre NHS Trust has worked closely with the researchers within the School to investigate how the latest technology can be used to improve and address limitations encountered with existing hospital information systems."

For Alex Gray, Professor of Advanced Information Systems, School of Computer Science & Informatics, and supervisor of the project - this award illustrates the significant mutual benefits of collaborative working, he said: "The on-going collaboration over the last twenty years with the Velindre, has led to their information system Canisc being recognised as a leading hospital healthcare system and its adoption as the All Wales Cancer Information System."

Co-sponsored by the Workflow Management Coalition and KMWorld Magazine, the prestigious Global Awards for Excellence in Adaptive Case Management recognise organisations that have excelled in developing and implementing innovative business solutions.

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