London has gone live with a capital-wide child health information service, which provides a comprehensive electronic record of a child’s public health records.
The new service, which replaces 18 different child health records departments using 18 separate IT solutions, was commissioned by NHS England (London region) last year in line with the new child health digital strategy. The aim is to make sure that health professionals know where every child in London is and how healthy they are.
The new child health service is powered by CarePlus, System C’s market-leading child health management solution. It also consists of the CareCentric shared record solution from Graphnet Health. CareCentric provides a London-wide platform on top of CarePlus, which broadens record access beyond the central child health teams and allows additional authorised professionals, such as health visitors, to view children’s records. The CareCentric platform also manages the interfacing wiith third party systems such as London’s eRedbook.
“This is a key strategic solution which we are expecting to deliver real improvements to the way we keep track of children, and monitor and manage their care needs,” said Kenny Gibson, head of public health commissioning London. “It is designed to reduce the risk of children falling through ‘gaps’ as well as improve efficiency.”
Child health records are important because they support health visitors and school nurses in their jobs and play an important role in public health. They record routine immunisations, newborn screening events and developmental checks, as well as providing vital information to local safeguarding teams. They also provide a fail-safe to ensure that all children, including those not registered with a GP, have been offered and have access to vital public health services.
NHS England (London region) went out to tender for the new service last year, reorganising the 18 existing child health departments into four ‘hubs’. The contracts to run the hubs were awarded to three different providers, each of whom are using System C as their IT systems supplier - North East London Foundation Trust (NE London), Health Intelligence (NW and SE London) and Your Healthcare CIC (SW London).
The new London-wide system is now live, following a 5-month deployment which involved migrating 1.5m children’s records to CarePlus.
It also involved integration with 27 maternity departments, three bloodspot screening laboratories, newborn hearing screening services as well as including electronic receipt of birth notification via the Spine. The system is providing an electronic upload of immunisations, NIPE, bloodspot, hearing screening data, antenatal referrals as well as outbound data feeds to 0-19 services clinical systems.
In addition, System C deployed Graphnet’s CareCentric software to provide interfacing capabilities, such as integration with London’s eRedbook. CareCentric also provides secure access to clinical users such as health visitors and midwives, so they can view the records of the child they are looking after. The two IT companies work closely together as the System C & Graphnet Care Alliance on key strategic projects, including NHS Digital’s Global Digital Exemplar programme.
Marjan Daneshpour, head of information and the child health foundation team for the SW London hub, commented: “We are already seeing some very real safety and efficiency benefits from the new system. The automated uploads of information and direct interoperability with key systems, for example, massively reduces manual interventions and duplicate processes, and this is inevitably going to cut the potential for error”, she explained.
Whereas previously data such as blood spot screening results had to be inputted manually, they are now provided in standardised format and auomatically uploaded to the system. The notification of child births is also now automated across the capital at the end of every day, regardless of where the child was born – previously notification of children born in an ‘out of area’ hospital was a manual process reliant on one child health department contacting another.
“This is really going to make it much simpler to trace children as they move around the city and make sure they don’t fall through the net,” Marjan added.
“All told, we are expecting to be able to run the new child health service with time saving of more than 50% on our previous services.”
For North East London Foundation Trust, Carol White, integrated care director at Havering, said: “the Trust is very proud to be part of delivering a new innovative way to provide child health information across London.”
Kenny Gibson, head of public health commissioning London, pointed to the complexity of the IT solution required. “System C’s vast experience in this area has been invaluable to us. This has been a very complex and fast moving project involving many organisations and the integration of data from dozens of systems.”
Markus Bolton, CEO of the System C, said the company was delighted to have been able to deploy a system of this complexity safely and in such a short time. “We’ve been in the child health market for 30 years and our recent large-scale deployments in Manchester, across the West Midlands, and now here in London are testament to the value of that experience”, he said.
“Altogether System C’s CarePlus solution now provides child health services to over 7.7m children.”