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Health professionals, doctors and NHS managers from across the country will next week visit Cumbria to learn more about how they can share important health information via secure NHS IT systems NHS Cumbria has been gradually introducing a local ‘shared record’ system across the county to help improve patient care. This is through creating a secure electronic record which summarises important patient information. This is can then be shared between GPs and different health services with an individual’s permission.
Information can include the patient’s name, address, current medication they are taking and any long term medical conditions they may have. Information like this can ensure that health professionals are fully informed when treating a patient especially in an emergency.
Following successful pilots in South Lakeland, Eden and Carlisle this system is now being rolled out more widely and more NHS health teams and out of hours GP services will soon be able to view the local shared record via a secure NHS network.
Now GPs, IT experts, health professionals and information governance leads from across the NHS in Cumbria are sharing their knowledge at a conference being held in the county.
The ‘Interoperability Day’ takes place at Rheged near Penrith on Tuesday 17th April.
The event has been organised to share best practice and experiences with other NHS professionals from across the country to help other organisations who may also be looking to establish an easy and secure way to share important patient information.
Sponsorship to fund the event which is free for registered people to attend from Emis, Healthcare Gateway and INPS.
Dr William Lumb is the Clinical IT Lead for NHS Cumbria. He said: "Cumbria has a number of challenges to overcome when it comes to travelling distances due to the county's geography. This was one of the reasons why three years ago we started looking at how we could improve patient safety by ensuring that local health professionals had easy access to important patient information. Historically if a community health care team were visiting a patient at home they would need to rely on basic notes and if any information was missing, either rely on the GP surgery being open or the patient knowing the information themselves.
"This is why we started piloting a secure 'shared record' system which contained important patient information and could be access remotely via a secure NHS network. All with permission of course.
"Following this we have trialled other ways to connect up patient records to other health providers, such as GP out of hour's services in Carlisle and in the future A&E. This is especially important in emergency situations where a team needs to know if the patient has any pre-existing medical conditions or what medication they are taking. Now we're gradually rolling 'shared records' out across the county, so all patients can benefit.
"This hasn't been an easy journey as with any important and personal information it has taken time to ensure that the system works and that all the necessary safeguards are in place. This is why now that we've reached this point in the journey we wish to share our experiences with other colleagues across the country.
"This event will help other trusts and health professionals, see the benefits and learn how they can implement a similar project. In the NHS we are passionate about sharing best practice so as many patients can reap the benefit as possible. We hope that this interoperability day will help ensure that more people can learn by our journey and hopefully improve care as a result."