Civica: Creating patient-centred solutions

Paul Sanders is Managing Director for Clinical Systems at Civica. We talk through Civica's partnership with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

Civica is one of the UK's largest software providers for the public sector. The company's partnership with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, a mental health and learning disability trust in the north east of England, started back in 2008. 

It involves four main areas, an electronic patient record (EPR), an electronic prescribing solution (ePMA) and a documents and content management solution called Cito delivered on a cloud-based managed service. "We believe each of these are best in class" Sanders says. 

"I've been very impressed with the work they've done" Kam Sidhu, Chief Information Officer at the trust says. "They've come along at different points in the year when we've needed  help to resolve problems. But in terms of Cito and the ePMA which are the most recent projects, it's very much about responsiveness to development needs, expertise, being very good at agile working and coming back with design solutions. 

"Clinicians often come up with lots of different ways they'd like to work, but sometimes what they have on paper doesn't transfer very well to a digital solution. Our development teams have been working closely with Civica to come up with solutions that are really fit for purpose." 

Civica takes partnerships very seriously. "We're really proud of having a 98% client retention rate" Sanders says. That's all about people, and understanding their shared values and benefits.  At the start of this engagement we were really fortunate to have over 30 face-to-face workshops where I was able to bring technical people, clinical staff and service users together. 

"To bring this insight back to our technical team has been so powerful, because this isn't about software - this is about making things better for vulnerable people."

Looking ahead, Sanders says they aim to be at the forefront of new technologies like machine learning, robotic process automation, and patient chatbot technology, whilst continuing to deliver domain-focused, clinically usable features to enable Sidhu and her team to get positive outcomes. 

They have also created Civica NorthStar, an innovation lab focussed on creating enhanced outcomes for public services. A recent example of their work is the COVID-19 track and trace app, COVIDCare NI, they developed in 10 days for a customer in Northern Ireland. 

"One of the really good opportunities we have is that the majority of local authorities have Civica products" Sanders explains. "We're one of the market leaders in housing and social care, so from an integrated health and social care agenda, we can join the dots between those systems' technologies, and track the data journey as a citizen moves through the care system. I think that's where real value will come." 

The innovation lab applies fresh ideas around data, automation and new technologies to also enable the trust to improve patient outcomes. "Having data from different areas is very powerful because data in isolation doesn't give you the complete picture of what's happening to that patient" Sidhu says. "In terms of our partnership, this is only the start. Cito is the next phase, then the ePMA programme and the patient portal, and then there's more to come."

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