Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

ePAQ Touchscreen Questionnaire

ePAQ is an electronic Personal Assessment Questionnaire system, the brainchild of Mr Stephen Radley, a consultant obstetrician at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Patients attending Mr Radley’s clinic are asked to complete an electronic questionnaire using a touch screen, prior to the consultation with the clinician. They are presented with a series of questions relating to Pelvic Floor symptoms, which many patients might find embarrassed to talk about with the clinician directly. On completion of the questionnaire, the ePAQ system will generate a scored report that highlights those symptoms that are of particular ‘bother’ to the patient. This helps best use to be made of valuable consultation time an potentially offers significant service quality improvements. Post-operative patients are asked to repeat the questionnaire, which can give an indication of quality of life improvements as a result of treatment. ePAQ is also a valuable tool for clinical audit and research.

Following an initial prototype developed at STH as a research project, Illuminaries were selected to rewrite the software into a commercially exploitable product. The prototype had been designed to assess and diagnose female pelvic floor problems but was re-engineered by us into a more generic system to handle instruments for any other body area. The application was also enhanced to automatically adapt the flow through the questionnaire depending on responses given to certain questions, either by skipping entire sections or individual questions or asking more probing questions. An ‘instrument builder’ allows new questionnaires to be easily developed and refined, and includes functions to preview and upload to the live e-PAQ system. Where consent has been given by the patient, anonymised response data stored within the ePAQ database may be exported for analysis.

e-PAQ is a server hosted, browser based application accessed through touch screen and tablet PCs. It has also been extended to an online version (www.epaq-online.co.uk) running outside the NHSnet, which collects data anonymously. This has two target audiences:

  • Patients attending clinics may complete the questionnaire at home prior to the clinic appointment. In this case, the patient is provided with a unique Questionnaire ID, which her clinician uses to access her responses and upload them into the main hospital ePAQ. Clinicians must be registered with ePAQ to access this facility.
  • Women redirected from other sites, such as www.incontact.org, who may complete the questionnaire speculatively and receive informed feedback which they can, for instance, present to their GP for follow up advice.

Currently ePAQ Pelvic Floor is use at a number of hospitals in the UK (University Hospital Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s, Wolverhampton, Hinchingbrook, Nottingham City) and scheduled to be installed in 10-12 other NHS Trusts within the next few months.

In partnership with Stephen Radley, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Medipex Leeds (the Yorkshire NHS Innovations Hub) a spin-out company, EPAQ Systems Ltd, has been formed to further commercially exploit ePAQ in the UK and overseas

For more information and an online demonstration, visit www.epaq.co.uk

ePAQ is built using Microsoft SQL Server, .Net framework 2.0 and ASP.NET (internet/intranet) technologies.

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