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2019 In review & what's new for 2020

Apparently, Stephen Hawking once said that “intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”.

It’s something we’ve been reflecting on a lot lately, as we close the door on one year and look ahead to the next.

Recent years have brought with them significant change for providers of sexual health services.

The local authority public health budget was cut by £700 million in real terms between 2014/15 and 2019/20, representing a 25% cut to sexual health services’ budgets.

Meanwhile, rates of syphilis and gonorrhoea have risen significantly, while overall demand for sexual health services has increased by an estimated 15% (between 2014 and 2018).

Despite the Government confirming a 1% increase to the local authority public health grant in 2020/21, service providers remain under enormous pressure. Pressure to not just facilitate greater access to services but to promote education, intervention, positive patient experience and improved health outcomes. And let’s not forget about the constant need to uphold a vast array of compliance obligations, including effective data capture for GUMCAD and SRHAD.

This austerity landscape is being met by many service providers with renewed focus on creating more efficient and effective ways of working.

In the absence of increased funding, and a moral refusal to allow patient care or compliance to suffer, the only thing to do is weed out waste and inefficiency in the systems and processes that underpin provision.

Last year alone, we were delighted to go live with/extend functionality for several progressive sexual health providers, keen to respond to these evolving challenges through use of Inform technology. Customers including Barts Health NHS Trust; Oxford University Hospitals Trust; Midlands Partnership Foundation NHS Trust; Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust; Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust and Southend Hospital and, social enterprise, Provide.

We also completed a successful implementation of our Health Information System for HIV with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Keep your eyes peeled later in the year for more news on this exciting project!

Aside from supporting customers to adapt to the current challenges of sexual health and HIV service delivery, we’ve also been investing in the future. Developing next generation solutions that will empower patients to take control of their sexual health and access services with greater autonomy and convenience, while providing visibility of their journey and facilitating pro-active intervention for service providers.

This digital front door we’re creating for patients will also help providers operate with greater efficiency and effectiveness. We’ll be sharing more information about the launch of our Personal Health Record in the coming months.

Yet it isn’t just developing and fine-tuning sexual health and HIV systems that have occupied our waking hours for the last year. With Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) under similar pressures, we’ve felt compelled to harness our existing expertise to design a new system, built from the ground up, to support the needs of modern SARC services. We’ve been working with some of the country’s leading experts in the delivery and management of SARC services and have exciting plans to go live with our first pilot imminently.

All of this would not have been possible without the support of our dedicated and talented workforce, which has grown by 3 members of staff in the last two months alone.

As we continue to grow as a business (and mark our 10th year trading this year), as we observe the changes that unfold and bring new challenges for our customers, one thing remains constant. And that’s our commitment to be more than just great software, to be a people-first, patient-focused, solutions-driven partner that adds tangible value to our customers at all levels, from clerical to clinician, commissioner to patient.

So that’s our 2019 year in review and a snapshot of our plans for the year ahead. Thanks for tuning in and here’s to a successful 2020 for us all.

About the author

More than just software

We don’t expect you to be experts in IT so when you need support we strive to make sure you get that support as quickly and easily as possible and communicated in a way that you and your staff understand.

What makes us different?
Not only is the Inform software at the cutting edge of healthcare IT, it is our understanding of how technology can address the challenges facing Services and our continued commitment to keeping in touch with the issues being faced by both management and those delivering service.