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Notify is an electronic clinical correspondence and audit system for hospital departments. It has been in use in the Department of Surgery in Banbury since 1997, for generating and storing clinical correspondence (mainly clinic letters and discharge letters to GPs, other doctors, patients etc), and for producing summaries of activity for audit. The system now contains the clinical correspondence on 32,000 patients, with data files totalling 170Mb. It is currently in use on about 25 PCs in four hospitals.

Trust owners

  • Business Manager: Sara Taylor
  • Technical Manager: Tina Adams

Supplier details

Supplier: IC Statistical Services, Merseyside
Contact: Ian Campbell, 0151 625 1449,
Contract type: Rolling contract for maintenance


Version supplied: 2.3304
Latest version released: 2.3304
Modifications to the original release: Secretarial staff have set up about 50 letter templates, discharge summary templates and headers

Operating environment

The server is located in the Department of Surgery, Horton Hospital, Banbury; and is running Windows 2000. Both server and client programs are written in Microsoft Visual Basic (v6).

IP address

Server and clients communicate via TCP/IP, and so it is necessary for the server to have a fixed IP address. This was set to in Sep 2006, and this was still current in Apr 2007.

User training

The client application running on the client PCs has an integrated training facility.

System capabilities

Clinical correspondence (e.g. letters to GPs from consultants)
  • standard letters automatically import patient and GP names and addresses etc
  • standard headers and logo are added when printed
  • stored letters are displayed in chronological order and are easily retrieved
  • stored letters can be edited for 1 month, and are then locked
  • authorised users can modify existing standard letters and set up new ones
  • user-specific autotext on any PC once logged on
Discharge summaries
  • diagnosis, operation, and complications are entered into a database
  • these details and patient name, address etc are imported into a summary letter
  • the database can be summarised and searched for audit or research purposes
User control
  • users have their own Notify ID and password
  • authorised users can add new users and delete users
  • change of password by users
  • authorised users can pass their authorisations on to other users when required
Team system
  • users are grouped in teams (usually based around a consultant)
  • teams share standard letters, so these can be specific to each sub-specialty
  • users can join other teams when needed
Link with hospital PAS
  • core patient details are received daily from PAS - files are generated by PAS each night, and downloaded by the Notify server by an FTP utility running on the Notify server

Backup and archiving

Data is stored as flat files that are easily readable by standard word-processing and spreadsheet applications.

Data storage is on an 'H: drive' and so is backed up according to the Trust's systems.

Setting up a new consultant

  • Add the new consultant as a new user (and when choosing a team, select 'Form a New team').
  • On the server, go to the latest directory e.g. |S330|, then to its |Teams| subdirectory, then click on the subdirectory of an existing team and copy the header.txt file from this directory to the directory of the new team. Then open this header.txt file, and edit it as required.
  • Set up the standard letters - it is usually easiest to copy an existing one and then edit it.
  • Then test.

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