Trent Study Group

HCV Study

The Trent Study Group, based at Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, was set up to investigate the causes of infection with Hepatitis C and comprises members from the National Blood Transfusion Service, QMC and a number of other hospitals in or adjacent to the Trent region, including Nottingham City, Scunthorpe, Derby, Sheffield and Leeds.

The group had been storing its data in an MS Access based system, which had been replicated for use across the five principal sites for data collection. Over time the synchronization of these replicas had given rise to concerns over the integrity of the data. By July 2000, there was no longer a definitive single data set, user confidence had fallen and the system had ceased to be a useful working tool. It was at this point, after approaching a number of other suppliers that the Group called in Illuminaries to look at reworking the system and rebuilding the master dataset.

Following a number of meetings with key users of the system to review current issues and identify and record current and future requirements, Illuminaries undertook a repair the system and re-engineered it to make it more robust. The use of synchronised replica databases, which was fundamentally unreliable in that version MS Access, was replaced by a system whereby datasets from the individual sites were merged on a monthly basis by Illuminaries, with the resultant merged database being made available to clinical and research staff as required. Over successive years, with increasing improvements in data quality at each site, due to additional validation at the point of data entry, the turn-around time to carry out the data merge has reduced to under an hour, which has a minimal support cost. This includes the production of an Excel spreadsheet providing summary stats and an overview of changes since the previous merge.

Illuminaries also added some features for visually searching through the data, which were easy (and therefore inexpensive) to implement but which added significantly to the system’s ease of use for the data entry staff. After these changes, one member of the Group reported, “I’ve got more work done in the past 2 weeks, than I have in the past 6 months”

Since the original piece of work, the system has been extended and modified to deal with additional test results and the inclusion of an ad hoc query and reporting module. In addition, consultancy undertaken by Illuminaries for the group, paid for through the flexible annual support contract, has allowed bulk biopsy and other lab data to be uploaded into the database to support the research team and contribute to academic papers from the group.

Our principal remits were to repair the data and to restore users’ confidence in the database. One of the best measures of success in terms of the design was that, as far as the users were concerned, the system appeared to be less complex, not more, even though there was far more happening behind the scenes.

The HCV database uses Microsoft Access 2000 and Office 2000 technologies.

    Contact Us

    Please feel free to contact us for a free, no obligations discussion about your IT requirements. You can contact us by phone, email or via our contact form.

    contact us

    Latest News

    We are now Cyber Essentials and IASME accredited

    We are now pleased to announce that we have passed Cyber Essentials and IASME governance

    We are moving!

     We are moving on the 18th April 2019.

    read more

    "The system is looking great. You’ve done what the previous contractor couldn’t do"

    Sylvia Ward, Deputy Chief Executive, Age Concern Sheffield

    "Illuminaries provided creative and imaginative solutions to our data needs and have designed a database that is straightforward to use and has flexible search methods"

    Paula Walker, Sheffield and Rotherham Asbestos Group

    "You were provided with quite a complicated design for an e-commerce site, they created the 'shop' whilst keeping the design as we wanted. They also provided great value for money."

    Lucia Kempsey, Bettyjoy

    "I really have appreciated the time and trouble you’ve taken to help me set up, especially as I’m so unused to using computers!"

    Kathryn Yates, Children’s Food Company

    "We had been thinking of implementing an online system to manage course approvals for some time but options were limited due to security considerations. Illuminaries were able to deliver a solution that works within our IT structure and meets all of our requirements."

    Daniel Kaye, PDO SYEM

    "Illuminaries were fully accommodating to all my needs and have more than delivered on what I had hoped"

    Stephen Radley, Consultant Obstetrician, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

    "As you are planning to get Tony to set your database up, you can be confident that the system will work. Tony also ran the Trent HCV database for a number of years, which generated over 25 peer-reviewed publications"

    Will Irving, Professor of Virology, University of Nottingham

    "I felt it was very productive today and you really have done an amazing job so far with this, it is beyond the expectations I had and to see it in today’s format was really positive"

    Vicky Jones, Quality Co-ordinator, Health Education England

    "Thanks so much for the quality database. It is a great piece of work. I am demonstrating it today at Willerby and am sure everyone will be impressed."

    Julie Platts, Quality Manager, Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber

    "[The QM application is] a really powerful development that allows timely review of concerns, streamlining engagement between the Trust and HEYH so helping in the accuracy of reporting and feedback the GMC"


    "You people are so helpful"

    John Sellars, ICT Consulting

    "The good work done by Illuminaries was highlighted by everyone (at the launch event). I personally would like to highlight the extra mile you went to get to this point. So a very special thanks to you both [Tony and Jim]"

    Mohamed Naeem, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Maldives Country Office

    "I would like to express my thanks to all of you as well as Illuminaires for their dedication and patience in delivering a user sensitive system that will help in transforming the work of the Government to plan and effectively deliver protection measures to the troubled communities and families in Maldives"

    Manssor Ali - UNICEF, New York

    "The very odd occasion I have required assistance, you have been very responsive in helping me resolve the problem"

    Joe Wright, Momentum Transport

    "Illuminaries provided a systematic and logical approach through the workshops to help clarify the data requirements and functionality of the system that would meet our business needs. This approach saved time and ensured both parties were clear about what was required"

    Rosemary Clark, Objective 1

    "I have just input the first patient onto the [Cirrhosis] database. Nice and easy, straight forward and only took 10 mins if that."

    Andrea Bennett, Deputy Nurse Manager / STOP HCV Project Lead

    "So far it’s been remarkably painless going live, so I just want to say thank you for your fantastic work. We’ve had some really positive comments, and I don’t think there have been any negative ones."

    Katharine Wilkie, Finance Manager, SYFAB

    "The flexibility demonstrated by Illuminaries, their readiness to consider and their ability to implement appropriate, alternative technologies into the laboratory’s business IT systems have proved to be of considerable help during a time of hectic and often profound business change."

    Business Systems Manager, Syngenta