Our purpose is to create successful custom software. To be successful it should continue to do its job, stay in-use and be up-to-date as the years go by. We understand that the development of custom software is an investment and that’s why it is vital that the custom software stands the test of time and achieves its goal – helping those who use it every day.
In this blog, we look at a successful custom software development project delivered nine years ago to Queen Victoria Hospital. Software which is still in use today and continues to expand and help doctors working across London and the South East.
Telemedicine Does Work
The web-based Telemedicine Referral Image Portal System (TRIPS) was commissioned by Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) East Grinstead and developed by Ballard Chalmers in 2010. It built on an already successful secure email-based system which had been in use since 1999. Both systems enable the transmission of images and clinical information securely. Assessment and treatment can then be commenced immediately, assisting in the clinical decision-making process.
Queen Victoria Hospital has been a world innovator in burns medicine since 1939. With pioneering plastic surgery techniques and a holistic approach to burn injuries applied to the allied aircrew during World War II.
This legacy lives on today with QVH remaining the regional centre for specialist plastic and reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. The current burns department continues to develop state-of-the-art techniques and treatments of burns.
Ballard Chalmers’ consultants were brought in to work closely with QVH to scope out the design and objectives of the new application. Following intensive evaluations, QVH contracted Ballard Chalmers for the full design, development and implementation of the new solution.
Now nine years into the use of TRIPS, we thought it would be a good time to look over the results and success of the application. After all, successfully completing the software development is really only the beginning.
Expansion and Use
TRIPS now extends across the London and South East Burns Network with five hubs: Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Queen Victoria Hospital, St Andrews Burns Centre Chelmsford and Stoke Mandeville Hospital, with St Georges Hospital Tooting connected and referring plastic surgery injuries for triage. TRIPS receives a mix of Burns, Plastics, Maxillo Facial and Hand injury referrals. TRIPS is a secure web-based system and can be accessed anywhere the NHS net is available, so further hubs could be added in the future. The site received over 25,000 referrals in 2018 and has received over 182,000 since its inception.
Images are sent from Minor Injury Units, Walk-in Center’s, Urgent Care Centres and A&Es to a local hub for assessment and treatment advice by specialist clinicians at the hub. Paramedic Practitioners with the South East Coast Ambulance Service also refer directly to QVH. This helps to avoid lengthy transfers as assessment and primary treatment can be carried out on site. Meaning the patient may not even need to transfer to a specialist hub.
The patient can be booked into an out-patients clinic at the specialist hub, at a time to better suit the patient and the hub. It can also alleviate overnight stays as a patient can be booked into a day-surgery clinic, treated and sent home without the need for an in-patient stay. This improves patient care, allowing patients to make arrangements at home or work rather than be admitted to a hospital. Only injuries needing to be treated immediately at the specialist hub are transferred directly.
In the past, patients were transferred and were required to wait in another hospital waiting room for further assessment. These waits have been removed for most patients as a specialist clinician can assess the injury via TRIPS and can advise on immediate treatment and ongoing care.
QVH gave evidence to the Parliamentary Health Select Committee and the Committee’s report included the statement:
“The system developed by QVH and the process of implementation is an example of how a telemedicine model should be developed and introduced.”
Telemedicine was chosen as the SE Coast Regional Winner in the 2008 Health & Social Care Awards in the category of “Innovative Information & Communications Technology” and went on to be a runner up at the National awards.
Mr Baljit Dheansa, burns consultant at QVH who uses the system daily has stated:
“I have found the TRIPS system an invaluable tool, allowing me to assess and treat many more patients than I could without it. It allows me to assess burns patients whilst still in their referring hospital; I can start managing them immediately. TRIPS has improved my department’s efficiency, enabled earlier and more accurate treatment, raised standards and allowed input from a greater number of personnel at a low cost and with minimal effort. I truly do not know what we would do without it.”
The Technical Side
To see more about how TRIPS was created, you can view the original case study here: https://ballardchalmers.com/case-studies/queen-victoria-hospital/
You can see more of our work with the public sector here, https://ballardchalmers.com/sectors/public-sector/. This includes case studies for work with Transport for London (TFL) and our Crown Commercial Service (CCS) named supplier status for Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 (DOS 4).
About the Author
Andrew Chalmers is a co-founder and the Managing Director of Ballard Chalmers. With over 40 years’ experience in business management, Andrew brings the business-side experience to Ballard Chalmers to complement our Chief Technical Officer’s technical leadership.
In 1998 Andrew created and established one of the very first cloud software development consultancies in the UK, which developed a very early-adoption corporate intranet for Hewlett Packard Europe amongst many other ground-breaking projects.