In 2001, Illuminaries were introduced to The Child Protection Team at Leeds Community Paediatrics, based at St James’ Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary. At that time the two sites were running similar but independent systems built on dBase IV databases. The two databases had identical data structures but were not linked and the codings in use at the two sites had drifted apart over 10 years of operation. These legacy systems could no longer handle the volumes of data and were becoming increasingly unrealisable with frequent restores from backup required. In addition, the St James' team had started to use digital cameras in clinic and individual clinicians had adopted their own naming / cataloguing conventions with no clear link back to the episode.
Following an initial meeting with Dr Chris Hobbs, Illuminaries carried out a detailed requirements capture exercise. The requirements capture process comprised an intensive 1 day workshop, facilitated by Illuminaries and involving 16 users of the proposed system including clinicians, admin staff, researchers and others. From the workshop report, a draft requirements document was written which was subsequently refined through a series of follow up meetings with a smaller number of key users, hospital IT staff and planners within Leeds Community Heath services.
The new design was based around a single, integrated SQL Server 2000 database to store clinical records, images and documents. A browser-based application developed using Microsoft .net technologies and running across the Leeds Teaching Hospitals network, provides screens to manage workflow from referral through to reporting. Clinicians can upload and annotate photographic images to the database made during the examinations as well as perform keyword searches on image tags and reports. Other sophisticated search features allow incidences of repeated referrals of particular children or within families to be more easily identified. A document management system provides a central repository for letters and reports sent to and received from other agencies such as the police and social services.
Following a lengthy testing and data migration exercise, the new Leeds Child Protection Database went live in June 2005. It is in daily use from two principal sites across the city and may be accessed by authorised clinical staff from anywhere within the Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
More recently, it has attracted interest from a number of other NHS trusts within the UK.