Development update – September 2020

In this instalment of our development update, we share with our PKB community what our development and product teams are busy working on this month. 

Throughout September, we continue to focus our efforts on:

  1. Restarting the EMIS extract service
  2. User interface updates to improve user experience.

Restarting EMIS extract service

We continue to process GP data from the EMIS extract service. The extract service has not been operational for the last few months while EMIS has been moving to SNOMED CT codes. 

Allowing users to remain logged in

We are adding a timeout notification which will appear for users after 25 minutes of inactivity. This will warn the user that their session is about to expire, and give them the chance to stay logged in for another 30 minutes. Some users were spending more than 30 minutes reading care plans, answering consultations, and watching long videos.

Hiding consultations from patients

A clinical  team or GP practice will soon be able to request that a consultation is hidden from view and no longer available to be completed. This will allow them to quickly and easily rollout new consultations to replace existing ones which are no longer relevant.

Once this has been done by a member of the PKB team, the consultation will no longer be available to patients, professionals or coordinators via the ‘Start consultation’ and ‘Start mass consultation’ dropdowns. 

Additionally, a patient will no longer be able to respond to a consultation previously sent by a professional. If a patient attempts to respond, they will see the message: ‘This consultation is no longer available for completion.’ 

For coordinators, it will still be possible to access the responses of hidden consultations through the new table on the Consultations page.

Hidden consultations can be made visible again by contacting the PKB team. This means that if something was hidden in error, it can easily be made available again.

New ‘Start consultation’ page to replace existing pop-up 

We are replacing the current modal dialogue (i.e. pop-up) used to select a consultation in the ‘Start consultation’ process with a web page. We are making the change as a web link is accessible on all devices and so offers the ability to provide a direct link to this feature.  

Optimising Plans for smaller screens

Over 60% of our users log in using a mobile device so we will be continuing to address the presentation of data to show information more clearly and optimise this display for smaller screens. 

We will be optimising the presentation of data in the Plans section. This will affect plans that track tests, symptoms and measurements, ensuring that they work seamlessly across all devices and browsers. 

Events & messages 

We will optimise the Events & messages inbox for small screens. We are removing some of the information on this screen that is duplicated in the detailed view. This includes removing the communication type, privacy label and the name of the user who initiated the message, and that of the latest responder.  

Updates to Appointments 

We are updating the main page in Appointments to highlight the most important information. The first change is to remove the overview calendar and replace it with a list of upcoming appointments so users can quickly see their future appointments when they land on the page. 

Past appointments will sit below the upcoming appointment section. We will also improve the way appointment details are listed so that the key data is highlighted, with actions moved into a new menu accessible by the ellipses. 

The source information, such as the date the data was sent and who it was from, will be shown in detail when clicked. Finally, we will also ensure the page is optimised for smaller screens. 

Patients can change name and address information 

Patients will be able to edit their own name and address in the record. This will allow patients to fix errors in their records without referring to professionals. 

As patients can provide the most up-to-date and accurate information about their name and address, we recommend that NHS customers switch to checking PKB for these details rather than the Spine, or internal systems. In the meantime, the user interface will warn the patient that changes they make in their PKB record may not be checked or reflected in customer systems, and they should separately notify their healthcare provider(s) of these errors. 

In addition, we are removing the autofill functionality for a professional or coordinator editing a patient’s demographics. This helps prevent records inadvertently being updated with incorrect information from browser history. This will be supported across all modern browsers and mobile devices.

Email notification improvements 

From September onwards, patients will receive an email notification if they have a care plan added to their record or an existing care plan updated in their record. Previously, care plans were included in the daily limit of one notification per day. However, after receiving user feedback we feel it is beneficial for patients to be notified about all changes to care plans as soon as possible.

Additionally, we are reviewing the text of our email notifications sent to patients following a CSV upload of patients to a team. These email notifications are the first communication that a patient receives from the team adding them so it’s important that they are clear and easy to follow. Once the new text has been agreed with our customers, we will update this information. 

The existing email notifications sent during CSV upload can be found on the bulk create patient records page in our manual

Contact details CSV to include identifiers 

When coordinators download a CSV of their patients’ contact details, the CSV will soon include the patients’ national identifier (e.g. NHS number in England) and local identifiers. This will make it easier for clinical teams to cross reference the contact details they hold on PKB with other systems. We started this work in August and expect to release the update this month.

API for date of the latest datapoint

We are designing an API that will give organisations the date that the most recent data point was added to a patient’s record. We started creating a specification for this in August and expect to publish that specification and work on the API this month.

Platforms can use this to build population health dashboards, like CMyLife in the Netherlands has for patients with blood cancer. This API will help them to decide when a dashboard showing data about the patient should be refreshed. This development work will begin this month.

FHIR API for record creation and demographic update

We continue to work on a FHIR API that will allow organisations to create patient records, invite patients to register by email and update patient demographics. Please see our specification for more details

This will give organisations more flexibility when choosing how to create records and onboard patients. It will also allow us to integrate with London’s Data Discovery Service who will use our FHIR APIs to send GP data to patient records in PKB.

Registration reports 

This month we continue to work on token registration reports for NHS customers using Synertec for registration. These reports will show organisations how many of the patients they invited have registered, and which registration pathways were the most successful. 

August review

Our August blog listed all the new features that were released last month. Details of any features not released have been shared in this blog. However, the following features were also released in August but not covered in last month’s blog: 

Custom email notification footer text

If an organisation adds custom email notification footer text, the Patients Know Best (PKB) signature will no longer appear in the email notifications sent to users in that organisation. The PKB signature consists of the PKB logo and contact details for PKB:

This change allows organisations to decide which contact details they would like to provide their users with, and emphasises the organisation’s footer message to the patient. If the custom footer text is removed, the PKB signature will appear again.

You can read more about customising email footers on our deploy wiki

New document types supported

We have added the Discharge Letter and Birth Report to the list of supported document types. These document types can be sent to PKB with a document in an HL7 MDM T02 message. Our FHIR document reference API also supports these new types.

For more information, please refer to the document types on our developer wiki.

We look forward to sharing further details about all our new features as they are released. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more please get in touch.  

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