The Friends and Family Test - Update

by Leicestershire Health Informatics Service 17. April 2014 10:41

LHIS are proud to announce that the launch of their pilot system for the Friends and Family Test which all practices will be under contractual requirement to undertake and report the results of this.

LHIS are already providing pilot practice sites throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland with dedicated support during the implementation of the solution including creating promotional leaflets for the practice, collection and analysis of data and help with all reporting including help ensuring everything is ready for the Statement of Readiness questionnaire to be submitted to NHS England.

LHIS are now rolling out the pilot scheme to practices across the country and looking for the next batch of pilot sites to sign up to the Friends and Family Test service. This is to ensure that LHIS can provide all sites with a solution prior to the mandatory date set out by NHS England and you can avoid the year end rush.  If your practice agrees to sign up to the LHIS offering for F&F, this will mean that:

  • A free pilot will be carried out from May 2014 through to the end of November 2014.
  • There is absolutely no obligation to continue after the pilot has finished.
  • During May and June, I would like to meet with Practices who wish to participate to briefly demonstrate the solution and confirm the practices requirements for the pilot.
  • For sites with an existing LHIS website, it is expected that the Friends and Family Test can if desired be incorporated into the website at the end of the pilot period together with a revamp of the existing website. 
  • Practices will be required to have some form of Friends and Family solution in place by December 2014 as this is a mandatory requirement

If you would like more information or would like to take part in the pilot scheme, please contact the LHIS CRM Team on 0116 295 3500 option 7 or email More information is provided on this leaflet:LHIS Friends and Family Test Solution.pdf (1.89 mb);

Check out our previous blog about the Friends and Family Test for more information about what the Friends and Family Test is and how it links with NHS England’s new system to improve standards of care.

Or alternatively more information can be found on the NHS England website:

HISquest - Real Time Patient Feedback System

by Leicestershire Health Informatics Service 21. January 2014 10:06

HISquest is an e-survey system from Leicestershire Health Informatics Service (LHIS) which allows the collection of real-time patient feedback. This technology has been upgraded by Leicestershire Health Informatics Service to offer its users the optional capturing and real time reporting of the Friends and Family Test to link in with NHS England’s new system to improve standards of care.

From December 2014, the Friends and Family Test will be available at all GP surgeries. It asks ‘would you recommend this service to a friend or family member’ and follows the roll-out of the test for patients staying in hospital. As in other areas of the health service, the overall results will be published online as part of a drive to improve quality and transparency. HISquest allows services to capture all the data required to ensure the care received by NHS patients are service users meets the criteria set out by NHS England.

The Friends and Family Test was created to provide services with the ability to identify the areas that service users feel that need improvement as well as recognising good practice in the quality of care provided to NHS patients and service users.

The test has been put into place to ensure the NHS remain vigilant to ensure that patients are not subjected to poor quality of care in the future which was discovered in the Francis Report.

The response for the Francis Report was published by the Department of Health and that was that the only acceptable answer to the Francis Report is that the NHS changes as a result of the findings. NHS England has been establishing a new system and responsive system with the quality of care at the heart of the system. 

An 11-point scorecard has been created against which performance will be measured by direct feedback from patients and their families as well as feedback from NHS Staff. This quick, consistent, standardised patient experience indicator will provide organisations, employees and the public with a simple, easily understandable headline metric, based on near real-time experience.

·        It will enable the views of patients and their families to be heard and provides a platform to shape and deliver better services.  Patients will be able to use the information to make decisions about their care and to challenge their local trusts to improve services while championing those who excel

·        It will mean that employees from ‘boards to wards’ will be informed and empowered to tackle areas of weak performance and celebrate and build on what’s working well, using the results from this test and other sources of intelligence

·        Tracking trends in test results will also provide validation of where targeted improvements are most effective and results can be triangulated with other quality indicators and measures to provide more in-depth understanding of issues and areas of improvement

NHS England guidance on the Friends and Family Test aimed at NHS Trusts and other organisations can be found here.

An NHS Choices guide aimed at patients can be found here found here.

For more information on LHIS’s HISquest product or general IT support with regard the Friends and Family Test, please contact

SystmOne Champion - Seth Meakin

by Leicestershire Health Informatics Service 30. May 2012 09:43

Leicestershire Health Informatics Service are proud to announce that Seth Meakin, Business Change Manager, has one been chosen as one of the 2012 SystmOne Champions.

Developers of SystmOne, TPP, were in search of users who actually improve the use of IT in their area. After helping with the migration of over 90 practices in Leicester and showing his support for the practices after the Go Live has far exceeded what is expected from an individual, Seth’s colleagues nominated him as a “true SystmOne Champion”.

SystmOne is a web hosted clinical computer system used by Healthcare Professionals in Primary Care. SystmOne fully supports the NHS vision for a ‘one patient, one record' model of healthcare. Professionals should be able to access a single source of information, detailing a patient's contact with the health service across a lifetime. This record should be accessible whatever the care setting and available so any health professional can enter information. It should document every appointment, every medication, every allergy and every contact the patient has ever had.

Leicestershire Health Informatics Service provides services to local practices within Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to deploy SystmOne. As a SystmOne Champion, Seth takes us through how Leicestershire Health Informatics Service help their local practices successfully deploy and use SystmOne.


How are you feeling about your recent win?

Very pleased. It was unexpected and a great feeling to be nominated. It’s an award which is recognised at a national level and I feel very honoured to receive it.

How long have you been working for Leicestershire Health Informatics Service? Have you always been in the same role?

3 years – I started out as a lead trainer for the Training Department but have now moved to the Project Management team as a Business Change Manager. However, I am still working very closely with the Training Department

 Tell us about your background with SystmOne.

I started working with CSC which was my introduction to SystmOne. I then moved on to work for the Nottingham NHS and have also worked with Northampton NHS. Working with various NHS Trusts has allowed me to gain insight into how Trusts differ in the deployment and utilisation of SystmOne and how to make it better for our current customer base.

What would be the biggest benefit of using SystmOne with Leicestershire Health Informatics Service?

Leicestershire Health Informatics Service provides a complete support package of advice and guidance from the lead up to and including implementation of SystmOne through to the afterservice.   Leicestershire Health Informatics Service helps users to make SystmOne their own by dedicating time to produce a bespoke solution to suit the customer.  We also take show each customer the key features and benefits of SystmOne for their practice.

 Tell us about your typical day.

My day can vary depending on the Healthcare Professional that I’m working with at the time. I provide specialist training which can be on a one to one basis or group sessions. Often the sessions may be troubleshooting for the customer or providing support to utilise advanced features but we also help to make SystmOne more streamline for the user. The content can be tailored to suit the practice’s needs which can include customised templates, views, reports and system preferences.

What are the most commonly asked questions regarding SystmOne?

The main questions that we get asked regarding SystmOne are about the features and benefits of SystmOne especially how they can use it to their advantage to provide an integrated sharing system. We provide in-depth support to help them use SystmOne to its fullest potential. Customers are also concerned regarding the implication of sharing information so it is very common to be asked about how the system works for SystmOne sharing.

Why do you think Leicestershire Health Informatics Service standouts from other IT services providers?

There is a fantastic team spirit within the whole of Leicestershire Health Informatics Service. Everyone shares their skills and expertise to ensure that a full support network is in place for the customer. From the service desk team to the project management team, the customer’s requirements are the most important and Leicestershire Health Informatics Service listen to what they need and work together to help find a solution which is best suited to the customer.

What are you looking forward to now?

It’s an interesting time for Leicestershire Health Informatics Service, especially with the transfer to the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, the creation of the Clinical Commissioning Groups and the upcoming implementation of new services and features available through SystmOne such as electronic letters, GP2GP and (Electronic Prescribing System).   So there is a lot of new developments to look forward to in the future.   The SystmOne conference highlighted some exciting new developments and technologies that I’ll be keeping my eyes on.

Leicestershire Health Informatics Service work with SystmOne and EMIS web and offer the same level of service, regardless of thesystem. 




Seth Meakin with his SystmOne Champion trophy.

IT in the NHS: clinical information systems

by Leicestershire Health Informatics Service 13. October 2011 15:12

Clinical information systems (CISs) are used by GPs, hospitals and others to manage clinical and administrative information and to improve the quality of healthcare. The complex IT requirements in healthcare have led to the development of numerous CISs to deal with a range of requirements, such as the issues surrounding data maintenance, patient confidentiality and the concept of the paperless patient record. By collecting and integrating data these systems can deliver key information to the right staff so they can use all the facts to make effective, timely, proactive decisions.

EMIS and SystmOne are the CISs you are most likely to come across in our area. SystmOne is used by healthcare professionals across the UK and is predominantly used in primary care, though its use in secondary care settings is growing. Modules for GP, prisons, child health, community units and palliative care are currently widely used throughout the NHS and in the last year, a number of secondary care modules have begun to be rolled out. These include modules for community and acute hospitals, accident and emergency, maternity, mental health and social services.

The system, which now holds over 20 million patient records, has full document workflow management, text messaging, self-check-in systems and online functionality, all built into the core. It helps GPs to maximize QOF points, streamline their work processes and most importantly allows clinicians to concentrate on patient care.

Over the last couple of years we have been deploying SystmOne clinical computer system for GPs across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and we have recently begun on EMIS web deployment as well. GPs can use either of these systems to:

·         Replace paper-based medical records of registered patients

·         Support health promotion and health screening

·         Manage patients’ appointments

·         Record the clinical monitoring of patients with long term conditions

·         Generate prescriptions, manage repeat medicines and the electronic transmission of prescriptions

If we take a closer look at one of the function of a CIS we could consider the volume of medicines doctors prescribe which continues to increase as national policy and better informed patients drive health improvement. People are being screened and pro-actively treated, rather than waiting until they become symptomatic to find out they have something wrong with them. For example, a patient who is diagnosed as hypertensive may be managed with up to 3 or 4 medicines. If they also have other cardiovascular risk factors, they may be prescribed a statin and aspirin on top, so they can very quickly go from taking no medicines at all, to taking 4, 5 or 6 different ones. All of this information needs capturing, and it would be a hugely time consuming task for practices to do this manually, due to all of the cross referencing that needs to be performed. Modern computer systems can easily cope with this, which in turn allows information to be searched and grouped, allowing patient records to be reviewed and managed in the most appropriate way possible.

Prescriptions themselves have been generated by computer systems for some time, but they are increasingly being produced with bar codes. Special readers in pharmacies can scan the encoded information, reducing the risk of error in translation of the prescription. GP systems can produce batch prescriptions to enable repeat dispensing of regular medicines. This is usually more convenient for the patient and reduces some of the administrative work involved with repeat prescribing systems in practices. It will soon be possible for prescriptions to be sent electronically, directly to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice, eliminating the need for a paper prescription altogether.

Clinical information systems are continually increasing in functionality as they become more widely embedded across the healthcare sector. The facts and figures they can collate and generate support better management of services within the NHS and lead to greater coordination between the NHS and other care providers such as social services. The take-up of CISs across all levels of the NHS will provide the means for more informed decision making and ultimately lead to even better care for patients.

We can help

If you are interested in knowing more about SystmOne or EMIS please contact us

Links to more clinical systems info

A one-stop guide for clinicians involved in deploying IT systems – from NHS Connecting for Health

GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) - a scheme through which the NHS funds the provision of GP clinical IT systems in England

Is telehealth what we’ve all been waiting for?

by Leicestershire Health Informatics Service 29. September 2011 09:13

NHS health IT systems have been getting a bit of a bashing lately. They tend to feature in bad news stories in the media and the recent announcement by the Department of Health, that it is planning to breakup the National Programme for IT, hasn’t helped to improve their reputation. Which is why you may be surprised to hear that not all NHS health IT projects have been a disaster; in fact a number of them have significantly improved NHS services, including:

The Spine - a national database which provides hospitals with key health information about us in an emergency 

N3 - the NHS national broadband network which allows fast communications between hospitals, medical centres and GPs

NHS Mail - a secure email account for all NHS staff helping to keep our patient data safe

Choose and Book - the national electronic referral service gives patients a choice of place, date and time for their first outpatient appointment in a hospital

The Secondary Uses Services - provides access to anonymous patient-based data for healthcare planning

The Picture Archiving and Communications Service– which enables health professionals to acquire, store, retrieve, present and distribute medical images such as x-rays in a matter of minutes rather than days

The Electronic Prescription Service – the EPS is being rolled out right now and will enable GPs to send prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy of the patient's choice

Health IT can and does provide data, save costs, ensure information stays secure and improve services for patients - and those same qualities are what the latest health IT pioneers are looking for in their quest to move towards a greater use of telehealth in the NHS. Telehealth involves using technology to help people manage their health condition in their own home (as opposed to telecare which tends to be used to describe social care in the home provided by local authorities). 

NHS Yorkshire and the Humber is at the forefront of the UK’s latest advances in NHS telehealth provision. In their booklet Teleheath: leading innovation in healthcare they state that telehealth technologies can play a major role in delivering new models of care and enable patients to manage their health in their own home or community. Seen as a cost effective and innovative alternative to hospital and GP surgery attendance, telehealth is also being used in the north east in settings such as care homes and prisons. NHS Yorkshire and the Humber a running a range of different telehealth projects that are yet to be fully evaluated, but the results for one of them look very promising. Evaluation of the Hull Heart Failure Telehealth Project by the University of Hull suggests that by telemonitoring 140 patients with heart problems they are averting approximately 14 hospital admissions per month. This translates into substantial savings for the local NHS and massive improvements for patients who have not had to face the terrifying experience of being rushed to A&E with heart failure.

Interestingly more recent research into using telehealth to reduce hospitalization of patients with heart problems actually improves on the University of Hull data. The article Automated home telephone self-monitoring reduces hospitalization in patients with advanced heart failure, published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare this month, compared hospitalisation form three groups of patients with advanced heart failure. One group of patients received usual care, another group received a multi-disciplinary team approach, and the group who were given home telephone self-monitoring had reduced levels hospitalization of around 50% when compared to both of the other groups.

But what we are all waiting for is the outcome of the largest randomised control trial of telecare and telehealth in the world to date. The results from the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) Programme, a recent research project funded by the Department of Health, are under evaluation and expected to be published later this year. In the meanwhile you can read a quick intro to the project in their booklet, Whole Systems Demonstrators: An Overview of Telecare and Telehealth which details the equipment used in the telehealth trials including blood pressure monitors, weighing scales, pulse oximeters to measure blood oxygen levels and/or heart rate, blood glucometers to measure an individual’s blood sugar level and spirometers to measure the volume of air inhaled and exhaled by the lungs.

The WSD programme is a broad study exploring telehealth options for people with heart failure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – three of the common long-term conditions that affect millions of patients in the UK. People with long term conditions are the most frequent users of healthcare services. They account for 29 percent of the population, but use 50 percent of all GP appointments and 70 percent of all inpatient bed days. If telehealth can help them to manage their condition and reduce their need to visit their GP or be admitted to hospital, it could have a major impact on the NHS economy.

All in all, it’s starting to look more and more like telehealth could be exactly what patients and the NHS are looking for.  If the WSD programme results confirm the expected improvements in patient satisfaction, together with cost savings to the NHS, then expect to see telehealth coming to a living room near you soon! 

More telehealth links:

Telehealth stories

Telehealth story podcasts from patients and health professionals on the Patient Voices website

Mainstreaming telehealth to enable QIPP

A series of videos recorded at an NHS Confederation workshop in 2010 about how telehealth can help NHS organisations to meet their quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) targets


About the author

Rupal Patel, blogging for NHS Leicestershire Health Informatics Service, your one-stop-shop for information management and technology. Writing about some of the work we do, discussing IT issues, introducing some of our terriffic staff and generally shedding a little light on the world of health informatics. Visit our website at:

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