NHS hearing testers to get improved data transfer

Better chance for newborns

Better chance for newborns

The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme is to implement a data integration project to improve the chances of spotting hearing impairments in babies earlier.

The InterSystems package implemented by integrator Northgate Information Solutions will automatically transport data from the screening equipment to a central repository.

Head of IT and communications for the project, Nick Waddell said: "In the past, the screening system wasn't well integrated. In some cases there was manual transfer of data, which meant there was a small chance of data going missing or being changed. We were driven by a need to improve information governance here."

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Waddell pointed out to silicon.com if data is compromised, babies have to be recalled for another test, which creates unnecessary anxiety for parents and child. The project should create a more family-friendly service for the NHS.

Waddell continued: "Babies with hearing impairment need to start getting the appropriate care before they are six months old. If test data is compromised, we may miss that window. Research has shown that if hearing impaired children start receiving care before they are six months of age, they will have the same developmental and educational outcomes as a child with normal hearing."

Waddell is about to begin systems testing, with pilots slated for January next year. He hopes to start roll out by April 2008 and complete this by August the same year.