Management software supports early diagnosis and improved care
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is to become one of the first in the country to exceed all its Commissioning Quality for Innovation (CQUIN) targets for dementia care after implementing software designed to support early diagnosis and improved care.
The Department of Health's CQUIN requirements aim to help identify patients with dementia and other causes of cognitive impairment to enable a better referral process, reduced length of stays in hospital, and more effective follow-up care.
The trust opted to deploy an electronic rather than a paper-based system in order to provide enhanced data collection, improved ability to record findings, assessment and investigation and for its accurate referrals process. It also sought a system that ensured data is integrated with day-to-day management of patients; using information to ensure efficient, effective services at all times, as well as allowing clinical staff to act on their findings in order to care for patients to the highest standards possible.
The software was designed by IMS MAXIMS. Frazer Underwood, associate director of nursing and consultant nurse for older people at the trust, said: "This system means we are able to ensure that all patients over 75 years old are identified, assessed and referred as appropriate. It enables us to increase the early identification of people with dementia. In Cornwall, we have 10% more older people than the national average and the prevalence of dementia correlates with that higher figure.
"The health service and its partners across the county are pro-active in addressing dementia, from GP diagnosis to support services led by the third sector. The high profile of our dementia work in Cornwall means that the ability of IMS MAXIMS to contribute meaningfully to improving services is invaluable.”
Dementia affects an estimated 670,000 people in England alone, with this figure expected to double in the next 30 years. This is already resulting in more than 25% of general hospital beds at any one time being occupied by patients who have been diagnosed with dementia.
The MAXIMS dementia system prompts healthcare professionals to make relevant assessments for people with suspected dementia, while guiding them to the correct care pathway.
The Department of Health's CQUIN payment framework incentivises the identification of patients with dementia as well as prompting appropriate referral and follow-up. It is now being extended to show how quality dementia care is being delivered.
Shane Tickell, chief executive of IMS MAXIMS, said: “The misdiagnosis and delayed or incorrect treatment of lon- term conditions such a dementia is placing a huge strain on our NHS, with dementia estimated to cost our society in excess of £19billion a year.
“The drive and innovation of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust using this system to manage the identification and referral process for dementia patients has produced excellent results. Our aim is to help trusts capture data as easily and effectively as possible to improve the identification and quality of care of dementia patients and to receive the correct payments for doing so."
The IMS MAXIMS dementia software has been developed based on NICE guidelines and by working in partnership with Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust to improve their patient care pathways.