K2MS Athena™ - Paperless maternity information system

K2MS Athena™ provides an electronic patient note system spanning the whole of pregnancy.

K2’s commitment and enthusiasm to provide the complete maternity management system has resulted with the introduction of Athena™. With the emphasis based firmly on clinical utility, Athena™ generates contemporaneous notes at the point of care and realises the next stage in maternity electronic patient note system by being able to provide an EPN across the whole of pregnancy. By integrating seamlessly with K2MS Guardian™ it offers an obstetric risk management system enabling the full electronic capture of all patient data, crucial for providing an automated comprehensive auditing process to free valuable clinical resource.

With the lives of clinicians becoming increasingly demanding auditing and the compilation of management statistics now takes seconds, reducing the workload for staff by weeks and even months. Comprehensive auditing is essential for hospitals to achieve high CNST standards and recognition and, in response to this, every aspect of Athena™ is geared towards ensuring a paperless, comprehensive and invaluable clinical resource.

The OLD Maternity Information System Approach

What is wrong with traditional attempts at maternity information systems?

Before setting out our vision and new approach to the electronic patient record, it is worth a quick look at the all too recognisable problems with traditional approaches. Does some of the following sound familiar?

Clinical interactions are handwritten on paper in the clinical notes and also subsequently entered again into the Maternity Information System. Multiple entry wastes time and is frustrating to clinicians.

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The same data is handwritten many times on many different paper forms and entered many times in different computer systems. Repetition leads to transcription errors.

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When a report is printed from the Maternity Information System the data is wrong and inconsistent. Reports are unreliable so they are not used to drive our Governance and Management processes. The data collected by the Maternity Information System cannot be used to improve patient care.

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The data entered into the Maternity Information System is a repetition of data that has been recorded in the notes so sometimes people forget or don’t bother to enter it into the computer. When a report is printed the numbers don’t add up. We have no confidence in the data we produce.

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Following the delivery, Midwives spend a lot of time, usually 40 minutes or more, sat at a computer with the handwritten notes in front of them transcribing information into an electronic form. This is a chore that is resented especially when a better use of midwifery time would be spent supporting the mother and newborn.

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Electronic Patient Records are no more than Electronic forms that do not encourage clinician-patient interaction. They do not replace the handwritten notes which are still required to facilitate these interactions.

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The computer systems don’t talk to each other so you go to different systems to find out the information needed; PAS, PACS, Lab, BloodGas, CTG, MIS, Baby Numbering, fetal medicine – all separate islands of information.

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Audit is done by hand. We spend considerable time identifying which cases we want to look at then we have to order the notes from medical records. When they arrive we have patient notes everywhere and it takes a team (usually clinicians) to go through the notes to get the information we need. CNST audits are dreaded and are very hard work indeed. Valuable clinical resource is taken away from the clinical environment to undertake this work. It is so difficult for us to achieve and then maintain the higher standards of CNST and bring valuable savings to the Trust.

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The Trust does not get paid for a significant part of the work we do because of our unreliable and incomplete electronic data. It is a real effort for our coders to profile the care we provide and produce our Hospital Episode Statistics.

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The information department is responsible for compiling detailed reports for a number of important bodies for example the Commissioners, Care Quality Commission, CEMACH, National Screening Committee and Office for National Statistics and in Scotland, the Scottish Birth Record (SBR) and Scottish Perinatal and Infant Mortality and Morbidity Report (SSBID). Compiling these returns are never straightforward and are seldom accurate or complete.

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Previous experience of maternity system procurement has invariably been a top down approach. The systems installed do not have a clinical focus nor do they meet our clinical needs. Much of the data is collected in the wrong form and our suppliers have not been interested in taking on board our local requirements and customisations. When they do they want to make significant charges which is felt to be unfair. 

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The K2MS New Approach

Our Vision is to provide a true electronic replacement of the handwritten maternity record.

Electronic Patient Notes

To mark our break from the past approaches we shall never again use the term, ‘Electronic Patient Record’. From now on we shall use the term, ‘Electronic Patient Notes’ (EPN) to emphasise that our new approach puts the clinician-patient interaction first and foremost from which all the benefits of the captured electronic information will then naturally flow.

Elevating the electronic note to THE clinical record

Athena captures the patient’s notes electronically which means the electronic note IS the clinical record – it is not a duplication of the handwritten record, there is no handwritten record – the handwritten record is replaced. A system that can do this then unleashes the full benefit of captured electronic data that we have all known to be possible from computer systems but until now has been entirely illusive. The Electronic Patient Note enables the following to flow automatically:


Every clinician knows the importance of an accurate clinical record so now that the electronic record is the only record – it will be respected and treated with the same reverence as the former handwritten note. The Electronic Note is bound to be accurate.

Compliance & Completeness

Now that the Electronic Note is THE Note, there will be full data entry compliance and all relevant information is completed, for all patients.

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The Benefits of K2MS Athena™:

We have all heard the adage, ‘rubbish in – rubbish out’ and it is true, but equally it is true to say, ‘You get out, what you put in’. The benefits of fully compliant, complete and accurate data means that all the information benefits of the electronic note can be realised. Information generation now becomes a bi-product of the process of giving care. No longer an added process, no longer an added burden.

Removal of Paper

No more paper CTGs (to get lost, fade or misplaced), no more paper partograms, birth notification forms to Child Health, paper reports from labs, unreadable handwritten clinic notes, no more fiddly plotting of vital signs, growth and fundal heights. The pain of the handwritten record is removed.

Whether and how much of the removal of the handwritten record leads to the removal of paper in the patient record is up to you. Most hospitals will probably want to keep a print-out version of the patient notes and this can be accommodated using printed summaries.

These print outs are copies of the electronic primary note and subordinate to it. There is no effort required in generating these paper copies other than pressing a print button.

Entered Once, Used Many Times

Data should be entered once and used many times, wherever and by whoever requires it. A patient hospital number, demographics and GP details will not need to be entered in Athena because this data will have been entered (once) into PAS. Lab results flow to the patient record over the hospital network. Maternity clinical data is entered once during the patient interaction and once only. It is then used in an electronic form or printed form, whichever is appropriate by other Healthcare Professionals, Managers, Administrators and Information officers as required.

User Tempting, User Rewarding

‘User intuitive’ used to be the phrase most often quoted when describing the standard for software to aspire to. But that is not enough for K2. Of course the software must be easy to use and require minimal or no training but to gain user acceptance, and preference over handwriting, it must be much more than this. Users, when they view the software should feel some excitement, they should feel inspired and tempted to start using it. When they do use it they should feel a sense of reward for having done so. Their effort should be low and attainment high. There should be gratification in using the software.

At K2 we employ a number of designers who are specialists in human computer interaction to ensure our software is fit for purpose, looks stunning, and exceeds all expectations in terms of performance and utility.

Contemporaneous, at the Point of Care

K2 provides software that is designed to be used contemporaneously and at the point of care during a patient interaction, even in emergency situations. Compare this with traditional maternity systems which tend to rely on retrospective entry away from the patient space. Contemporaneous and at the point of care ensures the software facilitates the consultation. It enables a review of care, captures the interaction and then helps plan future care. A whole new approach to the incorporation of maternity software into the workspace and work activity.

What you see depends on who you are, where you are and what you want to do.

The K2 Athena Software is not a single view of the patient record, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ presentation. The view and functionality that is presented depends on who you are, what you are and what you want to do. This is important not only to help utility but also in adherence to the Caldecott Principles of patient confidentiality.

Seamless, Single Database

K2 Athena captures the patient notes across the whole pregnancy care pathway, booking, screening, scanning, investigations, antenatal outpatient contact, in-patient contact, labour and delivery, postnatal in-patient and out-patient, neonatal intensive care, and care in the community. It captures notes and real time data from medical device equipment (CTGs, Blood pressure, infusion stacks, ventilators and incubators and vital signs monitoring). K2 Athena captures all this into a single seamless database. The impressive benefit of this single resource comes at the point of reporting and audit.

K2MS Athena uses a Microsoft SQL Server Database to store all data collected across the whole pregnancy and postnatal pathway. This is important because it means that reports, data queries and audits can be complied using information and criteria drawn from any period throughout care. For example,

‘SHOW ME: the notes of all Nuilliparous women who acquired gestational diabetes, were induced at gestation greater than 41 weeks and who had a Caesarean Section with a cervical dilation greater than 5cm and less than 10cm for failure to progress and who had a subsequent postnatal hospital stay greater than 8 days.’

This is just an example but we hope makes the point. Imagine the power of a database of complete and accurate data with this detail and breadth, from all pregnancies collected over just one year in your hospital. Pure gold.

A single seamless database is not only important for Governance but it also facilitates research and most importantly informs a continuous improvement process. This is essential for achieving the highest levels of CNST compliance.

Single Maternity Database - Entirely Developed by K2

The database and all software has been entirely developed by K2 Medical Systems. K2MS Athena therefore uses a single database which means that it is seamless. There are no joins or gaps in the data and no internal interfacing, which is a big problem for multiple supplier solutions. We do not rely on other manufacturers for any component of Athena. All software is developed by K2 software engineers.

Reports and Audit

What you get out of a maternity system should be at least as important as what is put into it, but often it is forgotten. Think of the knowledge and wisdom that could be gained from a population database of complete patient pregnancy and birth information from thousands of mothers and their babies. A rich resource such as this could be available to a Trust after just a single year’s use of Athena. Reports on a day to day, month to month or year to year basis can be produced to help manage patient care. They are simple to create and we have a catalogue of templates to start with.

CNST – The Ultimate Audit

K2 Athena is built to help you achieve your CNST aspiration. The data is complete and accurate and the patients that fulfil specific CNST criteria can be identified at a click of a button. Another click and the full electronic patient notes can be viewed. This really is the future.


K2 Athena can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in the World. It can be accessed from a computer over the internet or from a mobile phone using the internet or cellular networks. This powerful connectivity affords care in the Community in GP surgeries and Children’s Centres as well as the mother’s home. Clinicians can get a real time update of all the activity on the labour ward including CTGs, partograms and notes. Reports and Audits can be undertaken from any location, again, anytime, anywhere.


K2 is able to fully customise Athena to meet your local requirements. This is a real break from past approaches by other manufacturers who rely on either shrink wrapped software or software that resides on a database remote from the Trust that is shared with all Trust customers. This is not the K2 approach. We expect that you will want to comply with the many standard datasets but also that you will want to add some data fields to embody your own approach. The inherent design of Athena makes this all possible.

Athena’s Reach and Integration

K2MS have developed powerful interfaces to allow Athena to share information with other key systems, within the hospital and outside. Athena has a very wide reach indeed facilitating connectivity with the community, hospital based systems, third-party systems, PAS, PACS, LAB and NN4B. In fact no matter where you are on the Planet, Athena can be reached and patient information or reporting shared using computers or mobile devices (with appropriate authentication of course).

Athena Components: Scope and Scale

Think of K2 Athena as a collection of many components. Current components include:

  • Community Services and Remote Connectivity
  • Antenatal Hospital Services
  • Labour and Delivery Services
  • Postnatal Services
  • My Athena Space
  • Support Services
  • CNST and Governance Services

These components can be purchased in their entirety or they can be purchased individually. This approach allows each hospital to tailor the maternity system that they require to meet local needs, scale or budget. Additional components can be added as and when required, at any time, and as new components are developed, these can be added too. For further information about the various components available, please refer to our Athena brochure, which you can download by clicking here.


Sales Enquiries

To find out more about Athena, please contact our sales office.

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