Hillingdon Trust leverages Silverlink’s interoperability to design a custom app for increased agility and efficiency

Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has connected more than 40 disparate systems across the Trust into a single mobile app. By embracing a best-of-breed approach, Hillingdon’s app offers more than 1500 users a streamlined, easy-to-use interface to effectively coordinate patient care.  

Leading the way for other Trusts to design a digital ecosystem that addresses the complex needs of an individual Trust, Hillingdon has harnessed the power of Silverlink’s interoperability and PAS system to create a robust solution that effectively pulls together over 40 disparate systems onto one interface.

The five-year project was driven by insufficient resources to purchase a stand-alone EPR. Without the option of an expensive overhaul, the Trust’s in-house IT team had to explore other ways to achieve EPR functionality.  By using existing resources, Hillingdon Hospitals has been able to deploy the app at a cost of just over £600,000 spanning the entire length of the project.

“You can spend $7.4 million [£5.8 million] to achieve something similar to what we have here,” said Matthew Kybert, Head of Systems at Hillingdon. “Our strategy is a best of breed approach. We are not looking to replace functionality that exists, we are looking to enhance it and make it available to everyone.”

Silverlink PCS PAS, used by Hillingdon as the back bone of their best of breed EPR strategy, is a leading PAS system to the NHS in England. Encompassing a rich and robust offering of comprehensive PAS functionality and modules, it is a highly interoperable platform allowing a Trust to adopt other solutions that work for them. The PAS is easy to deploy, manage and maintain, is compliant with Choose-and-Book and the Patient Demographic Service (PDS), and supports an extensive list of inbound and outbound HL7 messages. Over the years the functionality off the PCS modules has improved and evolved, expanding to deal with clinical protocols, data mining and business intelligence (BI).

At Hillingdon, more than 8,000 documents are viewed by as many as 1,500 users each month, along with another 50,000 transactions from viewing patient history to creating outpatient letters, and because the system is updated regularly, the IT team can rapidly implement configuration changes requested by users.

As a result of Hillingdon’s best-of-breed strategy, clinicians have access to critical patient information at all times and are able to interact electronically with GPs, nurses and other stakeholders to provide a more efficient, better quality service.

Trusts see immediate improvement in stroke care performance with CaptureStroke

21 November 2016 – The results of the most recent Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) evaluation of stroke care revealed that one in three hospitals are failing their stroke patients. Two Trusts, however, reported an immediate improvement of at least one SSNAP band across the board after implementing CaptureStroke.

Having only recently implemented CaptureStroke, the direct improvement in patient care in the Trusts over just one reporting period has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the system in monitoring stroke unit performance and improving stroke care. These improvements contrast with the overall performance of UK hospitals as nearly a third of the Trusts in the NHS received one of the bottom two grades of D or E in their latest SSNAP evaluation, according to the report published in the Daily Mail.

CaptureStroke is the market leader in intelligent data collection and care performance monitoring for the stroke care pathway with a footprint across the UK’s public health service. The system has been designed in close collaboration with clinicians and against mandatory auditing requirements, it offers users a single, easy-to-read real-time view of stroke care delivery, allowing care teams to make immediate adjustments and improvements to individual patient care. In addition, CaptureStroke facilitates collaboration and optimum working of multidisciplinary teams, enabling them to capture data as a by-product of care and use the information to make the best data-supported care decisions.


Figure 1: CaptureStroke has improved SSNAP levels since it was introduced in December 2013

SSNAP is the single source of stroke data in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, comprising clinical, acute organisational and post-acute organisational audit components. SSNAP provides objective performance reviews of stroke units, ensuring compliance to NHS mandated protocols for better patient outcomes. The latest SSNAP results, indicating performance between April and July this year, showed that that between 31 and 40 per cent of stroke patients in the hospital’s care were not treated to the expected standards. The improved performance of Trusts using CaptureStroke reflects the effectiveness of the system in achieving fast, tangible results.

Silverlink will be exhibiting at the UK Stroke Forum (UKSF) from the 28th to the 30th November 2016 at the ACC in Liverpool. Delegates are invited to visit the CaptureStroke team at stand E7 to find out more about how CaptureStroke is actively helping Trusts to streamline and optimise stroke care for improved patient outcomes.

Download the Royal Cornwall case study here or get in touch to find out more.

Silverlink Ambulance Service Gateway featured in AHSN NENC case study

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) has published a summary case study on the Silverlink Ambulance Service Gateway project. 

The AHSN NENC is part of a national network of 15 AHSNs that have been set up across the country by the Department of Health to identify, adopt and disseminate innovative healthcare in the NHS.

The AHSN NENC case study demonstrates how the Silverlink Ambulance Service Gateway saves time and reduces the risk of duplication of data entry and re-keying errors that could impact on data quality and patient care.

The Silverlink Ambulance Service Gateway was developed through a partnership between Silverlink Software and the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to enable the automatic two-way flow of data between the ambulance service and the hospital for patients admitted with suspected stroke. The aim of the project was to enable data collection that can be used for research in the pre-hospital setting and to be as unobtrusive to paramedics and patients as possible. In an article on the AHSN NENC website, the company has indicated their ambition to lead a national consensus for efficient pre-hospital research governance standards through the development of innovative data capture processes.

The new solution feeds the patient data into Silverlink’s intelligent data collection and care performance monitoring solution, CaptureStroke, a system which allows clinicians to record data related to patients with suspected strokes and tracks the patient’s journey from initial ambulance pick up, to discharge, and on to hospital follow-up appointments and community care.

You can read the complete Creating Automated Data Flow between Ambulance Services and Hospitals case study here.

Silverlink recognised as one of the fastest growing companies in the North East

Silverlink Software is pleased to announce that it has been named as one of the 50 fastest growing companies across the North East.

The Ward Hadaway North East Fastest 50 highlights and celebrates the achievements of fast-growing, profitable companies in the region by compiling and publishing an annual list of the 50 fastest growing privately-owned businesses across the North East of England.

The list has been published every year since 1998, and is compiled and organised by law firm Ward Hadaway, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. Silverlink Software has been included in the 2016 list after achieving three years of strong turnover growth whilst still remaining profitable, and is the only health IT company to feature.

Tim Quainton, the Managing Director of Silverlink, said: “Our inclusion on the Ward Hadaway North East Fastest 50 list is a reflection of the team’s hard work and commitment to delivering fantastic healthcare solutions that meet the challenges of the modern NHS. The strong relationships we have built with our clients have allowed us to invest with confidence in our product offering, and our recent growth is the result of these partnerships.”

Jamie Martin, Managing Partner at Ward Hadaway, said: “We congratulate Silverlink and every company in the Ward Hadaway North East Fastest 50 for 2016 for their achievements in making this year’s list. The Fastest 50 shows what terrific companies we have in the region and underlines what a great place the North East is to do business.”

Silverlink Software will now go forward to the Ward Hadaway North East Fastest 50 Awards on October 14 when the winners of the Fastest 50 2016 will be revealed.

Wolverhampton consolidates acute and community patient records under one Silverlink PAS

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has recently completed a CCG-mandated restructure, centralising all community and acute patient records on a single Silverlink PAS.

Wolverhampton is one of the largest acute and community providers in the West Midlands. When the Wolverhampton CCG put the Trust in charge of community services in in 2011, it was required to incorporate the community patient records in its existing Silverlink patient administration system. Within a short period of time, 109,000 records were matched and merged, 140,000 clinical documents were transferred, 20,000 records were created and 5,000 new registrations were captured by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

The Trust was under pressure to effect the restructure quickly and seamlessly as the Wolverlhampton City Primary Care facility’s PAS contract with iPM was due to expire in July. The acute Trust worked with data specialists Stalis to help them meet the deadline in only six months, going live in June.

“Effectively with the close down of the national systems and the expiry of the national contracts, the trust was faced with the position that it had two patient administration systems,” explained Nick Bruce, associate director of ICT at Wolverhampton. “We had this challenge in around six months to implement effectively a massive data migration from the community PAS system into our acute PAS system, and then close that system down.”

Manx Baker, an ICT programme manager at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “The greatest pressure was simply the time constraints that we had because we had to do this from standing still to completion in six months.”

Nick Bruce was positive about the outcome, saying that, “Given the time frame, the migration has gone very well. I think we’re in a very good position.”

Silverlink’s interoperable PAS – because specialist environments need specialist tools

The demands of the modern NHS highlights the importance of cost effective, efficient and secure IT practices in the pursuit of improved patient outcomes. A Patient Administration System (PAS) that is robust, easy to deploy and comprehensive in its functionality is crucial to helping Trusts operate optimally while staying within budget. Trusts looking at reviewing their PAS systems, which are central to their IT strategy, should consider how they can best service the individual needs of their clinicians while protecting their current infrastructure investments.

In this day and age, a well-structured PAS system is vital to the running of an efficient NHS service. An effective system not only provides the practical tools for managing patient data but delivers analytical and business intelligence, which empowers the Trust to tailor and improve processes to positively enhance the patient outcomes and experiences.

“The implication of achieving a high level of interoperability is that Trusts are not required to contemplate a complete overhaul of their IT systems”

A Focus on Interoperability

Over the years, a Trust typically invests a lot of time and money in IT. Focussing on interoperability enables Trusts to protect these investments by allowing them to retain existing IT infrastructure and systems, and concentrate on adding new functionality according to their specific requirements. The implication of achieving a high level of interoperability is that Trusts are not required to contemplate a complete overhaul of their IT systems.

This benefit was a key reason behind the decision by The Walton Centre, a leading specialist neurosciences Trust, to implement Silverlink PCS. Their core requirement was for a more comprehensive PAS that would allow them the freedom to choose the clinical applications that best support their neurosciences speciality.


Silverlink PCS PAS solution provides the bedrock of any best-of-breed IM&T strategy, allowing the Trust a true choice in the range of clinical solutions from other specialist suppliers, with a trusted and reliable PAS solution at its core. With interoperability ensured, the IT team was able to build and connect both custom and off-the-shelf systems to the Trust’s IT environment at their own pace and in the order they chose, creating the optimal support for the Trust’s specialist and evolving needs.

The Trust first started using Silverlink’s PCS through a third-party contract. However, due to their satisfaction with the performance of the system and the quality of the support provided by Silverlink, they decided to renew the contract directly with Silverlink. According to The Walton Centre’s EPR and Data Quality Manager, Valarie Hayden, “the Trust identified Silverlink’s solution as a system that could help clinicians get critical information on a timely basis.”

Best-of-breed, and Compliant with NHS Practices

Silverlink’s experience and expertise in developing best-of-breed software has made them frontrunners in the field of interoperability for the NHS. As with all Silverlink products, PCS is designed to be highly compliant with NHS practice and provides support to the whole administrative cycle. Ultimately, the objective is to put the Trust in control of the speed and extent of its IT development.

When South Tyneside NHS Trust’s previous PAS was deemed inadequate for its purposes, they evaluated the market for a system that could offer an efficient user experience and support a range of different clinical specialities. In making their choice, the Trust decided on a strategy which placed a premium on a low risk deployment, cost effectiveness, and minimal time and effort requirements.

“It’s the most cost-effective PAS I’ve ever seen.” – Martin Alexander, Director of Information Services, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust

PCS’ ease of implementation and high interoperability allowed a smooth transition from the previous PAS. South Tyneside was able to save money by integrating the system with existing IT infrastructure, and Silverlink’s model of not charging an upfront licence for the PAS system led the Trust’s Director of Information Services, Martin Alexander, to call it “the most cost-effective PAS I’ve ever seen.”

Since it went live, Silverlink PCS has been the backbone of the South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust. The technical robustness of PCS provides a stable foundation on which an IT team can develop a Trust’s IT capabilities without having to overhaul the entire system. The Trust and Silverlink further solidified their partnership on 1st July 2013 by signing a new contract. Martin Alexander noted that “it was the logical move because of the high level of confidence we have in the company.”

Ease of Integration for Improved Cost Effectiveness

An interoperable PAS that underpins a best-of-breed IT strategy not only makes it easier for Trusts to carry out specialist services, it allows them to upgrade their system without having to replace expensive technology. Silverlink PCS’s PAS provides Trusts with the building blocks to best fulfil their needs through a best-of-breed approach that makes practical and business sense.

Improved stroke outcomes reduce pressure on services

In 2014 the NHS published its Five Year Forward View (FYFV), a plan to facilitate quality, affordable, preventative healthcare by addressing shortfalls in existing models of care to provide quality treatment in the face of growing demand.

In order to deliver on the mandate of improved patient care, a CCG is under pressure to assess needs within its population, decide priorities and then strategise towards ensuring that these needs are met.

“….the NHS allocates 5% of its total costs to stroke services.”

Considering that stroke is the second most common cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the UK, it’s not surprising that CCGs have prioritised stroke pathways for improvement, along with diabetes and heart-disease.

Challenges in Stroke Care

It has been proven that patients have a better chance of survival if they receive fast, specialised care as early in the pathway as possible. The timeliness of treatment not only affects the extent of recovery; it also impacts how long a patient is likely to need on going care. The patient’s wellbeing notwithstanding, both of these factors have severe cost implications for the NHS, which already allocates 5% of its total costs to stroke services.

By capturing and collating patient data to support high quality care interventions, real-time monitoring, and accurate reporting, CaptureStroke has been proven to yield tangible benefits:

  • A 50% reduction in time spent on data entry (from 0.4 FTE to 0.2 FTE for every 100 patients)
  • SSNAP performance improvement within 6 months – a case study has shown a site improving its overall SSNAP band from a E to an A
  • Reduced document-tracking and storage costs, helping services move towards a paperless operation

Because CaptureStroke allows Trusts to continually collect valuable data as a natural by-product of their care interventions, this allows Service Performance Reporting and SSNAP audit uploads to be automated. This not only frees up healthcare practitioners’ time, it facilitates cost effective care through evidence-based decisions.

Efficiency Gains

A data collection and clinical management system for stroke care should be able to monitor performance against targets, manage change and improvements, and seamlessly comply with regulatory and audit requirements. CaptureStroke helps to make healthcare professionals’ administrative duties easier and more efficient, rather than adding the burden of extra paperwork. It adds further value with additional capabilities such as real-time alerts to staff when an element of care requires attention. This allows services to act before a target is breached, promoting proactive services to deliver levels of care that are in line with CCG objectives.

The CaptureStroke system works to make the stroke pathway more clinician-friendly with:

  • End-to-end, effective and paper-light administration
  • Real-time data collection integrated with workflows
  • Reduced data input duplication and improved data quality
  • Dashboards and on-demand reporting for meaningful monitoring of care and performance (including SSNAP and BPT)
  • Compliance with required workflows, datasets and processes
  • Facilitates Performance Improvement and Monitoring

CaptureStroke can be implemented with ease on PCs, mobile workstations and hand-held devices. The system’s intuitive and user-friendly design makes it easy to use; approximately 30-minutes of training will provide users with a firm understanding of CaptureStroke.

Economies of Scale

By centrally hosting CaptureStroke and rolling it out to all sites within a CCG’s footprint, the Trusts involved will benefit from reduced infrastructure costs, as well as uniform data collection and benchmarking standards between them. In addition, the comprehensive reporting will assist with the monitoring of on-going service improvement against CCG-specific drivers and allow sites to harness each other’s key learnings and share best practice.

Streamlining Clinical Services through IT

The importance of clinical IT systems in the pursuit of effectively leveraging data to improve care is widely accepted. In a recent speech, Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, spoke about the “mind-boggling amounts of data that, if properly utilised with the right safeguards, can help improve treatments, unlock new cures and transform the face of modern health and social care.” With CaptureStroke, stroke services are getting a system that is specifically tailored to optimise stroke pathways, streamline processes and draw attention to areas of weakness to be redressed.

The aim of the NHS’s FYFV is to make high quality treatment available to more people. CaptureStroke has the power to bring stroke services in line with these objectives by reducing costs and making data capture a by-product of patient care. Ultimately, these efficiencies will result in the ability to provide proactive, specialised treatments faster, with better outcomes, thereby enhancing the overall patient experience.

CaptureStroke and CaptureFertility listed on G-Cloud 8

Silverlink Software’s market leading solutions, CaptureStroke and CaptureFertility, have successfully been listed on the Crown Commercial Service(CCS)’s G-Cloud 8 Framework.

The new listing on this framework on the Digital Marketplace will make the procurement of Silverlink’s two Capture products easier and simpler for public sector healthcare providers.

G-Cloud 8 is a framework for cloud-based solutions, through which suppliers can procure preconfigured packages of software with all the professional services and technical support included. The Digital Marketplace is free to use for public sector bodies, including NHS healthcare providers, and offers a unique advantage in that it allows organisations to pay for services as they are used, rather than being tied to inflexible, long-term contracts.

The CCS works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS goal is to become the “go-to” place for expert commercial and procurement services.

Regarding the new listings, Capture Products Manager, Rob Dixon, said: “We are pleased Silverlink’s CaptureStroke and CaptureFertility solutions are listed on the G-Cloud 8 marketplace. The new listings will make the procurement of our market-leading solutions even more accessible to healthcare providers and help them realise the benefits of efficiency and cost-savings that our paperless systems can offer.”

For more information on the CaptureStroke listing, click here.

For more information on the CaptureFertility listing, click here.

Fertility success rates

It’s well known that predicting the probability of fertility treatment that results in a successful live birth is difficult, particularly in the absence of quality data to guide individual patient treatment.

The result is that the overall fertility success rate has barely improved over the past decade, while the demand for services has increased markedly. Both private and NHS fertility services are now faced with the mounting complexity of harnessing data for better patient outcomes and better service management.

But what if there was a single, specialist system designed in collaboration with fertility experts that can leverage patient data to allow clinicians to make scientifically supported treatment decisions to not only be able to more accurately predict a patient’s chance of falling pregnant but understand the cost to deliver treatment for better clinic management?

The latest figures published in March this year by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) revealed a 5% increase in the number of people seeking fertility treatment over a twelve month period. Although there was also a slight increase in the overall success rate to 26.5% in 2013, this number hasn’t deviated far from the 25% mark over the past 10 years.

The fertility success rate has profound fiscal implications for both NHS-funded and private clinics. Over 52,000 patients underwent 67,708 cycles of treatment in 2014, with 41.3% of these cycles funded by the NHS. Considering it costs the state an average of £3,435 per round of IVF, the NHS stands to save almost £1 million per year for every one percent that the success rate improves.

This is the motivation behind CaptureFertility, a specialised software solution aimed at simultaneously reducing costs and improving patient outcomes.

“This targeted, patient-centric approach is designed to save time and money, as well as avoid unnecessary uncertainty and anxiety on the part of the patient.”

CaptureFertility, a new clinically driven software solution from Silverlink, is aimed at improving fertility success rates through better use of clinical data. The comprehensive fertility management system enables clinicians to make scientifically supported decisions by using accurate, real-time and patient-specific data together with the national datasets. Developed in collaboration with Professor Alison Murdoch of the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Newcastle Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust, the data collected by CaptureFertility will give patients greater certainty and put clinicians in the best possible position to determine the most effective treatment – and duration of treatment. The particular barriers to improved patient success rates that are targeted by this platform include:

  • The prohibitive costs which restrict the number of cycles a patient can undergo.
  • Success rates based on data that is at least two years old, and may no longer be relevant.
  • Datasets derived from too few cycles to reliably predict a patient’s future chance of success.
  • Inclusion/exclusion criteria for treatment which rely too heavily on the national averages.

Not only will a patient’s chances of success be more accurately predicted, the treatment most likely to be effective can be easily identified by pulling data relating to a specific patient without having to rely on national trends.

CaptureFertility enables clinicians to compile personalised treatment plans based on more relevant data. The ease of access to analysable information – both in real time and retrospectively – provides for the accurate population of data sets which in turn could dramatically increase the accuracy of predictions.

 “…this system will serve the patient because we can use it to more accurately predict who is more likely to become pregnant.”

“In the end, this system will serve the patient because we can use it to more accurately predict who is more likely to become pregnant. For service providers there are so many factors that influence the success of IVF, so if we see a change in quality indicators or key performance indicators, we could go back and look at ways to enhance the services they offer,” said Professor Murdoch.

Out-of-date information is a formidable barrier to correctly predicting a patient’s outcome. Presently it takes roughly two years to gather and organise enough data, as well as to conduct complex multi-variant analyses, by which time the outputs might be obsolete. CaptureFertility facilitates the rapid collection and amalgamation of data to reduce the time required to process and publish it for the healthcare community.

This targeted, patient-centric approach is designed to save time and money, as well as avoid unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty on the part of the patient. In addition, adopting CaptureFertility to digitise existing patient and clinical performance data is in line with the NHS’s move to a more efficient, paperless system underpinned by the use of technology, freeing up money and time that can be redirected into patient services.

 “Out-of-date information is a formidable barrier to correctly predicting a patient’s outcome.”

The NHS has made a sizeable commitment to using information technology to make healthcare more efficient and cost effective. CaptureFertility delivers on this mandate by providing fertility experts with the tools they need to move to paperless working and raise fertility success rates through better quality data. This allows for a quicker and more accurate patient assessment, and more effective treatment.

Silverlink contributes to inspiring and strengthening IT professionals of the future

Earlier this week, Silverlink’s Capture Products Manager, Rob Dixon, spent time talking to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) students at Longbenton Community College about the value that Technology adds to our daily lives, particularly when accessing health services. The talk was part of the Founders4Schools program in association with the Villiers Park Education Trust – a not-for-profit initiative that connects young people to business leaders with the aim of inspiring skills development.

Longbenton Community College is a top-performing secondary school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne that aims to prepare students for a career in technology. Rob addressed the students as part of Silverlink’s commitment to supporting skills development within the broader community, and promoting the North East’s booming tech sector.

According to the Founders4Schools program, approximately one billion young people globally will enter the job market in the next ten years but only 40% of them will take jobs that now exist. The organisation believes that software development is a prime example of a career path that is constantly evolving, and by connecting young minds to leaders in this field, students will get an idea of what skills employers are looking for now and in future, to help guide students in their career choices.

As a leader in the development of healthcare software, having worked with the NHS for over 20 years, Silverlink was invited to present to students on this highly specialised branch of IT and the benefit to whole communities and populations when health services are modern, connected and innovative.

“We appreciate the willingness of Silverlink and the other speakers who took time out to speak to the students here at Longbenton,” said Alex Stonebanks, Learning Mentor at Villiers Park Educational Trust. “The advice they gave was invaluable and the feedback from the students was enormously positive; 91% thought the event was useful and 79% felt inspired by the event.”

“It was a great pleasure to speak to STEM students at Longbenton Community College, and to introduce them to an exciting and meaningful vocation within the field of health IT,” said Rob. “Healthcare software development is an opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives, and it was fantastic to see this resonate with the students at Longbenton.”