Paperless puts the patient first
This growing demand for fertility services and increase in expenditure to the NHS was one of the drivers for Prof Murdoch to look at how technology could transform their services and approach Silverlink Software with a technical spec. “We started with the cost-savings that a single electronic system could deliver in terms of improving efficiency,” said Prof Murdoch. “Being able to call up a patient file quickly to deal with any query saves enormous time and effort in comparison to the workload associated with a manual paper-based system.”
“we already collect all the necessary HFEA and clinical data, but having it all in a single IT system means that it can be accessed and analysed much more effectively,”
“Having electronic records also has numerous residual benefits for the centre and the patient but cost savings alone are a reason to implement the system simply to save money in the medical records department and put it into services for patients,” said Prof Murdoch.
Beyond the goal of cutting administration costs, Prof Murdoch believes that a comprehensive digital system is a powerful mechanism for enabling personalised, patient-centred treatment plans because it allows treating clinicians to harness individual patient data to more accurately predict the success of IVF or ICSI treatments. For both clinicians and fertility scientists, knowing who is most likely to get pregnant can focus efforts, streamline costs and ultimately, improve success rates.
“As a large tertiary clinical service we already collect all the necessary HFEA and clinical data, but having it all in a single IT system means that it can be accessed and analysed much more effectively,” said Prof Murdoch. In light of the new HFEA data requirements, due to be announced in 2016, Prof Murdoch went on to outline the impact that a specialist software solution would have on the NHS as a whole in delivering fertility treatment.
“The amount of data collected by most clinics is not sufficient to do very complex, multi-variant analysis over a reasonable period of time. There’s also been a shift by the national regulator, the HFEA, to amalgamate the data faster. If all the individual parameters of each treatment cycle are entered accurately across the 60,000 IVF cycles done each year, then a much more in depth analysis can be done in a relatively short term to understand patients’ likely outcomes and decide how best to treat them,” explained Murdoch.