The electronic Personal Assessment Questionnaire
A significant amount of patient and NHS time is taken up with recording patient history much of which is essential information but doesn’t require a face to face meeting. Certain clinical conditions, such as pelvic floor problems, can be embarrassing and difficult to discuss and for this reason answers given during a clinical consultation are often unreliable for assessment, diagnosis and monitoring of outcome.
An interactive touch-screen questionnaire called ePAQ (electronic Personal Assessment Questionnaire) has been developed avoiding unnecessary face to face meetings and providing a remote consultation which can be followed up by a face to face consultation if appropriate
ePAQ has been designed primarily as a clinical tool, to facilitate communication between patients & clinicians. It has been evaluated in a number of studies in terms of its validity, reliability & impact on patient care. Its origins lie in instruments designed for use as Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) though most importantly the system offers a user-friendly and meaningful measure of outcome, which may be applicable in clinical practice, service evaluation, audit & research. It is a key element in supporting devolved care (including nurse-led clinics) as well as ‘Virtual Clinics’.
The software for a generic questionnaire builder was created, facilitating the development of new questionnaires. The user-friendly, versatile and interactive ePAQ platform technology lends itself well to numerous areas of clinical medicine, particularly areas where symptoms and personal data are a key element in assessment, diagnosis and monitoring.
ePAQ® Pelvic Floor is in routine clinical use, a second application for preoperative assessment (ePAQ-PO), has been successfully piloted indicating improved patient experience and better targeting of treatment. Forty percent of all pre op screenings in hospital could be done remotely amounting to 1.2 million appointments avoided which represents a paper saving of £48 million.
Several additional ePAQ questionnaires are under development, e.g. men’s health and drug addiction.
Medipex was approached by the inventor of ePAQ®, Dr Stephen Radley, a Consultant Uro-Gynaecologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to help assess the feasibility of the ePAQ system and help establish a commercially sustainable business model. Medipex identified a software development partner, Illuminaries Ltd, and established ePAQ Systems Ltd as a 4 way joint venture between Sheffield Teaching Hospital, the inventor, Illuminaries and Medipex. Further support included mentoring the business in its early stages, helping identify development funds and supporting its additional product development.
The system is now in routine use in Sheffield as well as several other UK Trusts and enquiries have come from another 40 units, both in the UK and overseas.
For further information visit the ePAQ website.