Carelink provides mission critical platform for maternity and neonatal applications
Clevermed, a medical software company, is using hosted infrastructure services and connectivity to HSCN from Carelink to provide NHS trusts, clinicians and patients with reliable, stable and secure access to its BadgerNet Maternity and Neonatal software products.
BadgerNet Maternity provides real-time recording of all clinical events wherever they occur: in the hospital, community, or home. It is in use by over 23 NHS Trusts and Health Boards, recording approximately 120,000 pregnancies per annum.
BadgerNet NeoNatal forms a single record of care for all babies within neonatal services. It is currently in use in over 250 hospitals throughout the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.
“In the old days, when a woman was pregnant, she would need to keep her medical notes with her,” says Jane Stephenson, Programme Manager, Clevermed. “Keeping paper notes with the patient was, historically, the most efficient way of handling care notes between locations – a hospital or GP surgery, for example.
However, this whole paper-based process is open to error, lost notes and repetition of conversations between the patient and care provider.
Providing a single record of care solution for patients across all connected hospitals, Clevermed needed its software applications to be hosted securely and reliably. The applications had to be online and available 24/7, 365-days per year. And, it was essential that whichever provider Clevermed chose to host the applications had to be responsive and available if there ever was a hosting or connectivity issue.
In 2012, Clevermed chose to work with Carelink, one of the most highly accredited managed service organisations in the UK, bringing together international standards for best practice in security and service management. The company provides managed application hosting and is one of the first CNSP’s providing connectivity to HSCN.
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“The range of services available from Carelink was vastly superior to our previous provider, plus we have peace of mind knowing that data is secure in UK based datacentres,” says Stephenson.
“Our software, hosted by Carelink and connected to HSCN, effectively replaces the function of patients carrying paper notes between appointments. The full software application is available to medical staff in any location and, with permission, patients can also access a controlled, summary record themselves via an Android or iPhone app.”
Over the past five years, Clevermed has scaled its servers and hardware to cope with increasing demand; evolving from a hybrid architecture using dedicated storage arrays, combined with shared cloud servers to a higher performing private cloud platform, which incorporates the latest clustering and SAN technologies. The number of trusts, clinicians and patents using the service has increased from tenfold in this time period in the case of maternity services.
“Throughout our relationship with Carelink, uptime of our applications has far exceeded agreed service levels with no unplanned outages,” she adds.
In the immediate future, Clevermed has the option to scale up capacity further on the system as case notes become more detailed and complex. It’s entirely possible that in the future, care records might include video files, scans or other images. At the moment, for example, 4D pregnancy scans are hosted locally by each individual hospital because of costs, but as storage costs reduce, its highly possible these could be stored centrally too on the Carelink infrastructure.
Clevermed’s applications have recently moved to the new HSCN network as part of Carelink’s early migration – at the time of writing Carelink is the leading provider on HSCN, having pioneered a migration approach that has seen them move their existing IaaS customer base well in advance of any major migrations by other CNSP’s.
Commenting on what HSCN means for healthcare providers, Stephenson notes: “Right now, when a patient leaves a hospital setting and returns to the community, it might be social services providing care. The information on her subsequent care currently drops out of the record. The HSCN network will enable greater sharing of information from any provider in the health and social care ecosystem.
“The new network also improves the user experience for BadgerNet applications. At 10am each day, when consultants across the country are busy doing ‘walk arounds,’ the use of our system increases significantly. Capacity constraints on the old N3 network meant we were always pushing the limits and constantly working to maintain high levels of usability during peak periods. The new network eliminates these bottlenecks, giving us far greater bandwidth, improving the experience for our users and opening up new possibilities for delivering enhanced services.”
How can the healthcare industry build trust with consumers?
One of the many ways the pandemic has impacted society is that it has firmly cast the healthcare industry in the public spotlight. From producing ventilators and PPE to developing life-saving vaccines, consumers have looked to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to keep us safe and find a way out of the Covid-19 crisis.
As a result, healthcare companies have an opportunity to build upon this and utilise their marketing to drive greater engagement and trust with consumers. When it comes to effective marketing, it’s vital to remember the important role which visuals play. Consumers increasingly engage with brands through the visual communications and storytelling they absorb while online or browsing through media channels. These visual communications can have a huge impact not only on consumer purchasing decisions but also the relationship between brands and customers.
At Getty Images, we work with healthcare companies throughout Europe to advise them on their visual content. This study forms part of the research for our insight platform Visual GPS, which looks at the key factors affecting consumer decision making and how that impacts their visual choices.
In partnership with YouGov, we surveyed 10,000 consumers globally and have been tracking this consumer sentiment for the past two years. This latest deep-dive into the healthcare industry is part of our wider on-going research, and aims to better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector and what motivates their visual preferences.
Our research revealed that many companies are not using visuals as effectively as they could. In the UK, for instance, the vast majority of consumers do not feel represented by the visual communications which businesses are producing – only 7% of British respondents to our global Visual GPS survey say they felt represented. That is even lower than the global average of 14%.
This latest deep dive into the healthcare industry has uncovered some important insights that can help us better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector.
Mental health should be centre stage
A key finding shows that mental health remains a highly relevant issue for consumers. Over nine in ten British consumers think it is important to talk about mental health and put it on an equal footing with physical and emotional health. Not surprisingly, 55% of British consumers believe that more people are being diagnosed with depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health across Europe. Health and pharmaceutical companies should acknowledge this in their visual communications but do so in an empathetic and compassionate way. Only five years ago, visuals around mental health often depicted people alone, isolated and expressing feelings of shame, whereas now we are seeing a more empathetic and supportive approach to visualising mental health - with an increasing number of positive visuals showing support groups, or individuals proactively seeking and finding support.
Visual communications that show support for mental well-being in a meaningful way will resonate deeply with consumers.
A more holistic approach
Another key finding is that consumers want to focus more on holistic health. Our survey found that the majority of UK consumers place an almost equal importance on emotional, physical and mental health, and almost three quarters (73%) placed the health and well-being of family as a top priority.
It’s important that healthcare companies reflect this. Our research paired with ongoing image testing revealed that consumers want to see visuals that humanise healthcare, so companies should consider visualising inclusive care across intersecting factors such as age, ethnicity and gender. Brands can help establish trust with their customers by highlighting a collaborative relationship between medical professional and patient, as well as ensuring that their visual choices feel genuine.
Technology and innovation in healthcare are gaining traction
Thirdly, eHealth and purposeful innovation was another key finding. Consumers want innovation that will meaningfully support their care. Particularly in Europe, the older generation will pay more for brands that use technology to provide advice and recommendations, while Gen Z & Millennials are willing to pay for self-service capabilities. It’s important therefore for healthcare companies to incorporate purposeful innovation in their visual communication and demonstrate consumers at the centre of accessible eHealth.
Given these insights, what visual content do consumers expect to see from pharmaceutical brands? Our research highlighted three key themes.
- Consumers want to see how healthcare companies fit into people’s lives. Accessible health services are a key factor here. Decision makers should build trust by showing consumers at the centre of a holistic healthcare ecosystem.
- Consumers want to see the emotional rewards others get from using a healthcare company. This can be achieved by building brand loyalty through empathetic and inclusive visual storytelling.
- Finally, consumers want to see people who are similar to them and their lives. British consumers want to see people that look like them and reflect their lived experiences in advertising and brand communication. Decision-makers should ensure that their visual communication is inclusive and authentic and represents the diverse population of the market in which they’re operating.
Ultimately, the key to successful visual storytelling for pharma and healthcare businesses is to ensure that they understand what matters to their audience while establishing trust of care. An important element of this is authentically representing the full spectrum of the population. That means representing all ethnicities, ages, abilities, body shapes, sexuality, religion and genders, to ensure patients of all backgrounds feel included and represented.
Healthcare brands should bear in mind that, as a result of the pandemic’s impact on healthcare systems around the world, consumers may be feeling anxious about whether they will be able to access care if they need it. The healthcare industry has an opportunity to reassure customers and build greater engagement and trust by showing them that they matter through inclusive visuals that represents them authentically at the heart of brand storytelling.