The National Association for End of Life Care
Omega, the National Association for End of Life Care, is an ambitious new charity, promoting excellence in care for people nearing the end of their life.
In November 2008, Omega was commissioned to deliver the first National Primary Care Audit in end-of-life care. This ground-breaking project, based upon the ADA (after-death analysis) online tool, required the development of a flexible, user-friendly database system, to record anonymous end-of-life case information from GPs. This includes details about the cause of death, whether the death had been expected, any interaction between carers and community services, and whether the death had been preceded by one or more unplanned or crisis hospital admissions.
As such information often needs to be collated over a period of time, files need to remain open, and are not submitted until complete. This meant that the system needed to be easy to use, so users could enter the data at their convenience.
DCSL Software quickly developed a flexible, intuitive database solution, which was securely accessible via the Internet using a simple browser. As well as being highly user-friendly, the system allowed GPs to skip irrelevant sections of the questionnaire, saving them valuable time.
"The software does exactly what we needed. It is also very flexible, which has enabled us to re-use the functionality in other projects," commented Tom Memery, Development Director. "It has also been very cost-efficient, because of the sheer speed of development and the fact that in-built self-help functions have limited the number of helpdesk enquiries received by the Omega project team. Cost efficiency is essential, given our charitable status."
While the statistics collected are not yet publicly available, the response rates from Health practices have been much higher than expected, according to Mr Memery.
"The value of the Audit can't be quantified, but this is a truly ground-breaking project, as it is the first audit of its kind. It provides a basis for benchmarking, and therefore monitoring and improving the state of national end-of-life care in this country," commented Mr Memery, "This is the start of something much bigger, the Audit fits firmly within the Government's new End of Life Care Strategy."
Omega has already commissioned further development work taking into account user feedback, making the user experience simpler and doubling as a learning tool to identify improvement opportunities for end-of-life practices.
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