Improved technology leads to safer care for HIV positive patients

by Joanne Shrimpton, Marketing Executive

HIV services in the UK are constantly under pressure to drive up quality and cut costs.  Advancements in technology can help make these goals become a reality. 

Development in technology seems to leap forward on a monthly basis, as do the advances in HIV treatment which has accomplished amazing things. Today, people living with HIV can - with the right medication and care - expect to live just as long as their HIV negative peers.  Dr Max Pemberton has commented “As a doctor I can tell you that, medically speaking, I’d rather have HIV than diabetes”.  Having HIV is no longer a death sentence but a manageable long term condition where HIV-positive individuals can now expect to live as long as an uninfected person.  “It’s now incredibly rare to die as a result of HIV/Aids in this country. The most recent statistics show that in 2012, less than 1 per cent of people with HIV died.” he said.  With this ageing HIV-positive population the number of patients will increase just by the fact that there will be more people living longer with the disease.  Patients will therefore need medication longer; they will need to be monitored to ensure that no other health issues cause them unnecessary illness, plus their adherence to taking their medication will need to be monitored. To do this effectively a specialised Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is needed otherwise the patient’s paper record will end up being the size of a small car and vital pieces of important information can be lost at the bottom of those notes!

Climate-HIV is a unique software in the field of HIV care. Unlike previous Genitourinary (GU) systems, which have an HIV module as an after-thought, Climate-HIV is dedicated to HIV patient-centric care via a multi-disciplinary clinical team and is a fully comprehensive specialised electronic patient care record (EPR) for HIV medicine. Following an extensive and fruitless search for computer software designed specifically for the treatment of HIV positive patients, Dr Achim Schwenk, Clinical Director for Speciality Medicine at North Middlesex University Hospital, designed Climate-HIV (CLinical Information Management for Audit, Treatment and Excellence in HIV Care) and asked 6PM to help build it into the robust software solution it is today. 

From a patient safety aspect not only does Climate–HIV monitor the patient encounters with their doctor but it makes it safer to prescribe care, can also write clinical letters and code diagnoses. This saves the healthcare professionals time and allows them to spend quality time with their patient.  Dr Immy Ahmed, Head of Sexual Health Services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said Climate-HIV can help you manage patients more pro-actively and safely as the software can show you trends in the test results before the patient beings to feel unwell.

From the management side, Climate-HIV provides the efficiencies required to meet the everyday pressures on the NHS.  The software can provide all the medication and financial information for a patient’s treatment plan e.g. any duplication of prescriptions which could increase costs, prediction of run-out times, assistance for pharmacists and business managers to monitor, control and forecast the usage and costs of drugs from a daily basis to annual requirements.  All audit and quality measures are incorporated automatically to ensure improvement of the service throughout the care pathway. This includes the automatic creation of the HARS dataset which will be mandatory for services commissioned by NHS England and Public Health England, ensuring that the HIV services are paid for the work they have done (payment by results PbR). 

Let’s make patient safety our primary goal with two great bonuses - HIV services which are more efficient whilst slashing expenditure on drugs.