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PatientSource's News and Blog

Bring the NHS into the 21st Century with PatientSource

Kim Bates

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This week Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, has put a ban on buying further fax machines taking effect from January 2019. They will be phased out by 31 March 2020. NHS trusts will instead be required to invest in new secure technology to replace outdated systems. Matt Hancock said:

“Because I love the NHS, I want to bring it into the 21st century and use the very best technology available. We’ve got to get the basics right, like having computers that work and getting rid of the archaic fax machines still used across the NHS when everywhere else got rid of them years ago.

“The NHS can be the best in the world – and we can start with getting rid of fax machines.”

The Royal College of Surgeons estimated that more than 8,000 fax machines are still being used by the NHS. Richard Kerr, Chair of the Royal College of Surgeons Commissions on the Future of Surgery, said:

“Most other organisations scrapped fax machines in the early 2000s and it is high time the NHS caught up. The RCS supports the ban on fax machines that will come into place in March 2020.

“Advances in artificial intelligence, genomics and imaging for healthcare promise exciting benefits for patients. As these digital technologies begin to play a bigger part in how we deliver healthcare it is crucial that we invest in better ways of communicating the vast amount of patient information that is going to be generated.

From April, NHS organisations will be required to use modern communication methods, such as secure email, to improve patient safety and cyber security.

PatientSource is a modern and revolutionary electronic patient record system designed by doctors for healthcare professionals working on the front line in the NHS. PatientSource allows communication of patient information including referrals and discharge letters via secure emails, instant messaging and integrated clinical pathways with the multi-disciplinary teams. 

Our system can fulfil the needs of the NHS whilst bringing trusts into the 21st century. PatientSource works on tablets, laptops and desktops without installation, allowing healthcare professionals to take patient records right up to the beside. Our secure cloud-based system is highly reliable with automated back ups improving the safety of patient data. 

Our referrals management module is a friendly referral management solution than can replace fax machines. All specialties can be covered with highly customisable electronic referral forms, specific to the speciality; for example dermatology can have photos attached for skin reviews. Clinics and tests can be booked directly from the referral as well as the facility for advice only referrals. Referrals can be tracked and automated alerts can be created to ensure that a referral wait time is not exceeded. Referrals can be sent to GP’s in a range of formats including printable PDF instantaneously. 

The referrals management module is one of many modules available that can be used by healthcare professionals to improve patient safety and make workflow more efficient.

Learn more about PatientSource and other modules available at www.patientsource.co.uk 

PatientSource Live on the Island of St. Helena

Kim Bates

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Over the last few weeks, the team have been on the incredible island of St. Helena launching PatientSource. Famed as Napoleon's exile, St. Helena can now also claim to have one of the worlds most integrated electronic medical records solutions with primary, secondary, dental, community and LIMS within a single solution.

PatientSource is starting off as an on-prem implementation, until the deep sea fibre cable is hooked up in 2020. However, we are using Microsoft Azure in an innovative way, with an incremental "trickle" backup to the cloud via the satellite internet link running overnight. Not only does this give us an ultimate data backup, the mirror copy of PatientSource running in the cloud empowers specialist consultants who periodically fly to the island to be able to manage their caseload and view test results via the cloud copy.

By using PatientSource to manage the island's healthcare, St. Helena will be able to better address major population health issues such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus due to limited access to fresh food and reliance on packaged and processed food. It will be used across the six rural health clinics and community services across the island via mobile devices.

PatientSource's Implementation Manager Damian Quinn said: "What an amazing experience! To help an island move to PatientSource has been phenomenal. I have enjoyed the whole journey from meeting the team back in August through to coming back to take the system live. The support from everyone on the island has been fantastic as they can all see the potential of PatientSource."

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A Modern Vision for Health Provision in St. Helena

Kim Bates

 
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PatientSource, a revolutionary Electronic Patient Record (EPR) solution, has secured its first international contract with the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

PatientSource is an advanced medical record platform created by Dr Michael Brooks and Dr Phillip Ashworth, to prevent the rising issue of patient records being misplaced in health care organisations.

The programme, which is set to go live on November 5th, will transform St. Helena’s healthcare by bringing the island's entire primary and secondary care data together into one place.

By using PatientSource to manage the island's healthcare, St. Helena will be able to better address major population health issues such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. It will be used across the six rural health clinics and community services across the island via mobile devices.

Dr Michael Brooks, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of PatientSource, said: “We're so excited to be working with St. Helena to transform people’s healthcare. 75% of adults and 40% of children have excess body weight on the island, while 25% are suffering from type 2 diabetes due to limited access to fresh food and reliance on packaged and processed food.

“St. Helena will be able to track progress in real time and will be able to identify where best to direct healthcare resources. The island will jump decades ahead of where they are now.”

 The platform is cloud-based and works on tablets, laptops and desktops without the need for installation. Backed by Microsoft UK and Trustmarque, PatientSource has a track record of success in the NHS and uses Artificial Intelligence to assist diagnosis, detect patient deterioration more accurately and forecast resource usage.

 PatientSource is positioning itself not only as an EPR supplier, but as a UK based strategic partner to the island of St. Helena. The partnership follows continual improvement and investment to the island in recent years including; the first airport opening in October 2017, positive moves to redirect the subsea internet cable, and steps to improve health and wellbeing through increased exercise and reduction of high fat and sugary foods.

Dr Akeem Ali, Director of Health in St. Helena, said: “PatientSource as a platform is an excellent fit for our needs and promises a fantastic stepping stone to managing population health data and interventions on the island.

“The simplicity of the system is the clincher for both clinical and administrative staff. As a commissioner, a modular and extendable platform such as PatientSource, is definitely value for money. 

“We are looking forward to a long-standing partnership with the team at PatientSource.”

Press Release created by Sunny Bird PR

NHS hit with ransomware - PatientSource not affected

Dr Michael Brooks

At least 40 NHS Trusts and hundreds of GP Practices have shut down their IT systems after being hit with ransomware today (12th May 2017). We would like to reassure our users that PatientSource is immune to these attacks.

If you have unpatched Windows systems which are affected, please see below for instructions on how to recover from WannaCrypt.

Hospitals running PatientSource are still able to access their full PatientSource system. PatientSource is cross-platform and can accessed via any modern web browser, which means that even if all of a hospital's internal Windows computers are infected, their PatientSource system can still be accessed by their non-Windows computers, tablets and smartphones. PatientSource uses security-hardened Linux servers with daily patching so is not vulnerable.

It is safer to have patient data stored on professionally maintained, up to date cloud infrastructure, such as PatientSource hosted on Microsoft's Azure, than in on-premises hospital networks which may have unpatched vulnerable systems.

PatientSource is immune to WannaCrypt. Picture of the ransomware popup. Source:  @fendifille (Twitter)

PatientSource is immune to WannaCrypt. Picture of the ransomware popup. Source: @fendifille (Twitter)

The outbreak:

The malware responsible for the 12th May ransomware outbreak was WannaCrypt (.WCRY). .WCRY was first seen in February 2017 in the wild in Europe. A second variant appeared today (12th May 2017) rapidly spreading across Europe. Telefonica, the Spanish ISP was particularly affected. At some point in the afternoon, WannaCryptor reached central NHS servers and began spreading to GP Practices and hospitals.

All versions of Windows and Windows Server which have not received Microsoft's March 2017 patch MS17-010 are vulnerable.

How WannaCrypt works:

WannaCrypt spreads across vulnerable Windows servers and terminals. Once a machine is infected, it begins encrypting files and folders which can only be recovered by decrypting them again with the correct key. WanaDeCryptor throws up a screen demanding a ransom paid in Bitcoins in order to obtain the key to decrypt your files.

Files are encrypted using the symmetric encryption cipher AES 128-bit. AES is the industry standard symmetric encryption technology, which at 128 bit key length would take even a supercomputer 1 billion billion years to crack. AES is a useful technology for protecting data from unauthorised access, however WannaCrypt abuses it to lock away files from their rightful owners until a ransom is paid.

The vector for spreading WannaCrypt is thought to be the Windows SMB (Server Message Block) protocol. SMB allows users to share files and folders across a network. Once the malware has reached a new Windows Server or Windows computer, it exploits a vulnerability in the Windows Malware Detection service to execute. The malware then begins searching the hard drives and shared network folders, encrypting any non-system file it encounters.

Affected operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows: XP, Vista, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Windows Server: 2003, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016

Why the NHS has been affected:

Much of the NHS still runs on-premises servers. With increasing pressure on NHS finances, many hospital Trusts do not have sufficient numbers of in-house IT staff to keep all their servers up to date with daily patches. Many NHS Trusts are running unsupported end-of-life operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows 2003 due to budgetary constraints.

It is much safer to keep patient data on an ISO27001 certified professionally-maintained cloud service such as PatientSource hosted on Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure, than on hospital premises where there may be unpatched systems. 

How to recover from a WannaCrypt attack:

You can restore your systems in the following manner (requires administrative privileges):

1) Reboot the affected Windows terminal or Server in "Safe Mode with Networking".

2) Download and apply the MS12 010 patch which was originally released in March. Windows Update will automatically fetch this for you if switched on.

3) Download and run Windows Defender. Fetch the latest definitions first which will pull in detections for Ransom: Win32/WannaCrypt. Run a full scan.

4) Reboot.

5) Restore your non-system files from your most recent backups, if you have them.

At the moment, there is no known flaw in the WannaCrypt encryption routine. Security researchers are working hard to find a flaw. If one is found, this may allow us to break the WannaCrypt encryption and provide a program for users to decrypt their affected files.

We advise you not to pay the ransom. Not only will paying the ransom fuel more crimes like the WannaCrypt outbreak, you are also likely to end up on a list of people who are willing to pay, thus will be targeted in future attacks.

 

Need help?

PatientSource Ltd is providing healthcare organisations with low-cost expert IT help to recover from ransomware attacks and to harden their systems against future attacks. Please Contact Us if you are affected. PatientSource systems are already immune to this attack.

 

Updated 2017-05-13 10:10 UTC: Amended the total number of NHS organisations affected. Added instructions for how to remove the ransomware.

PatientSource could save the average NHS Trust £16.5m per year

Hamilton Morrin

As the age of paper-based patient record systems comes to an end, a number of electronic patient record systems have emerged as potential alternatives. However, almost all to date have come with their own share of problems and difficulties which negatively impact upon the ability of healthcare professionals to provide the care that patients deserve on a day-to-day basis.

As PatientSource has been developed by doctors & nurses with years of experience in providing frontline care we believe that PatientSource avoids the pitfalls encountered by legacy electronic patient record systems through its intuitive nature and resemblance to traditional paper charts whilst also standing out due to its innovative cloud-based structure and tablet-compatibility.

What’s more, we estimate that PatientSource could potentially save the average NHS Trust £16.5m per year. That translates to ~4.7% of the average NHS Trust’s annual budget. If you’d like to learn more then feel free to visit www.patientsource.co.uk and check out our online demo!

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