Integrated reporting is music to NHS Trust's EARS

The National Health Service (NHS) Trust in charge of administering the English National Screening Programme for Diabetic Retinopathy (ENSPDR) will go live later this year with a bespoke, integrated data reporting and management application.

The electronic annual reporting system (EARS) is designed to streamline the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme management of around 100 Local Screening Programmes (LSPs) across the country, which submit annual reports to the ENSPDR to help provide key performance indicators.

Fionna O'Leary, ENSPDR manager for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explained that Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that can lead to full or partial sight loss. She said the application development work was key because of its leading cause of sight loss in the working age population.

"Registrations in the over-65 age group more than doubled in the 10 years between the 1991 and 2001. However, diabetic retinopathy, if caught early, can usually be treated successfully. This makes it imperative to work with LSPs to highlight areas where improvements could be made or to help them better identify those at risk," she explained.

The new application will automate currently manual and time intensive processes of submitting LSP reports, as well as improve the monitoring, recording, collating and analysis of their information, in order to enable more effective reviews of programme risk, service delivery and improvement.

Developed by systems integration and messaging services provider Quicksilva Software, LSPs will use EARS to submit reports via a web interface or by uploading an HL7v3 message with the support of the screening software providers. They have previously completed submissions in varying formats, adding to the trust's administrative burden.

"The analysis of submitted yearly reports is an essential part of the quality assurance process and is providing a rich source of data," said O'Leary. "We therefore needed an application that would provide a central 'hub' but also be intuitive to promote user adoption across LSPs."

The application has been developed to include associated workflow, document management and associated administrative processes via a central software portal built using Microsoft SharePoint that will facilitate accurate annual data collection. It also uses Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Server and Exchange, alongside a C# .NET and ASP.NET-based web application.

O'Leary added: "EARS will provide us with the necessary level of automated co-ordination to streamline the yearly reporting process, enabling data to be more easily collated and analysed. It offers a more flexible reporting model for the LSPs and should enable programmes to get earlier automated feedback on performance."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.