Better Care

Health records system for Birmingham babies revolutionised

Child health system revolutionised

Children and families throughout Birmingham are to reap the benefits of a new, state-of-the-art computer system with the potential to revolutionise the delivery and recording of routine child healthcare.

The system replaces the outdated software that the BCHC child health team used for more than two decades. The system records details of the 28,000 children born in the city each year and supports the delivery of quality healthcare by our GPs, health visitors and school nursing teams through to adulthood.

Just weeks after implementation, BCHC forged a ground-breaking agreement with Birmingham City Council to share information about the school that every one of the 160,000 pupils across the city attends, helping the administration of school nurse visits and reducing the risk of a child becoming lost in the system.

Project manager Jim Hebberts said the Child Heath Team, which comprises about 25 colleagues based at the Springfields Centre in Selly Oak, will be able to deliver substantial benefits to children and families thanks to the deployment of the new system.

“About 25 years ago, when computers were in their infancy, the complexity of scheduling so many routine appointments made child healthcare an early candidate for exploiting technology” he explained.

“Because of that, the team were fortunate to have computerisation before many other services. However, the disadvantage over time was that, as early adopters, they were eventually left with an ageing, outdated system.

“When our suppliers gave notice that they were ‘sun-setting’ support for our previous system we seized the opportunity to improve on what we had as much as possible.”

Following a comprehensive options appraisal, a system was chosen that offered a wide range of benefits besides the core records management function. The system was up and running within three  months of getting our hands on it, including the migration and ‘cleansing’ of over 600,000 individual patient records.

“We wanted a system that would do everything the old one did but more intuitively, more flexibly and more efficiently.

“It was a very rapid implementation, and our success is largely down to the dedication of the project team, for example the IM&T training team rose superbly to the challenge of delivering courses to over 600 clinical and administrative staff in just a couple of months.”

“Now it’s up and running, we’re determined to build on our success and push the boundaries to deliver even more benefits for the children and clinicians that the child health team serve … so be sure to watch this space!” said Jim.

Key benefits include:
  • a modern, simple and easy-to-use system

  • improved helpdesk and support

  • a rolling programme of high quality training

  • improved system security and resilience

  • more professional patient correspondence

  • consistent use of national coding wherever possible

  • data feeds from the newborn hearing screeners based in maternity hospitals

  • a modern platform to support future enhancements.


Child health information system manager Kevin Haddock praised his team for adapting to the system so quickly and maintaining a professional service throughout the transition and added that the new system will deliver a more efficient system for supporting multi-agency efforts to improve child safeguarding measures.

“The agreement we’ve made with the city council is just one example of the many benefits we anticipate,” he said.

“It means less time spent finding out which school a child is attending and a much more robust mechanism to keep track of a child who has moved.

“This system will help us rise to the challenge of delivering a service of substantial complexity across a large urban area of great variety with four maternity hospitals and an ever-changing, diverse population.”

Donna Darbyshire, project director for safeguarding children, also paid tribute to the team’s dedication.

“Without the hard work of Kevin and his team during implementation, we would not have seen such a successful implementation of this system. They all deserve huge credit.”