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Graphnet supports integrated health and care services in St Helens

26th April 2019

St Helens Cares, the local place-based care system in St Helens, has gone live with a shared record system from Graphnet to support its strategy of providing improved, joined up health and care services to its residents.

Social care teams at the council, staff at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, GPs, community and mental health workers and other teams are now sharing health and care records on the borough’s 178,500 residents. The shared information supports St Helens Cares in its drive to break down organisational boundaries, to integrate commissioning, and to work collaboratively to meet the health, wellbeing and social care needs of people in St Helens.

One of the first initiatives already underway is introducing electronic care plans to help tackle frailty. This is a priority because the borough is expecting to see a tripling of residents aged 90 and over by 2037.

The local care system then intends to extend the solution by introducing care plans into other specialty pathways, such as for patients with COPD, where mutli-provider working is needed.

Ann Marr, chief executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: 

St Helens Cares and our Connect Care policy is all about transforming services to provide the right care at the right place at the right time. The great benefit of this shared record system is that it brings together the information we need to help us to respond more efficiently and to target our interventions more effectively, helping prevent unnecessary admissions or A&E visits, for example.

Under the award-winning St Helens Cares partnership, all local service providers are brought together with joint responsibility for the quality and cost of care for local people, working together within agreed budgets.

It involves multi-disciplinary Connect Care teams providing a single point of access for all social care and adult health referrals, and the first point of contact for children referrals. As well as providing assessments, the teams - social care staff, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and general nursing staff – work from A&E to help prevent inappropriate admissions and smooth discharge processes. They also provide intermediate care and reablement services.

St Helens is working together with the System C & Graphnet Care Alliance across the whole health economy in support of this approach. The acute trust uses System C’s Medway EPR as its core operational system. Social care professionals at St Helens Council use the Liquidlogic adults’ and children’s software, also provided by System C. Graphnet’s CareCentric software integrates the operational systems from all care settings, with single sign on, and pulls together the information captured at the point of care.

Christine Walters, IT lead for St Helens Cares and chief information officer at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals, said the fact that St Helens was working in partnership with the System C & Graphnet Care Alliance had a major impact on the ease of deployment. “We signed the contract for CareCentric in March and went live in November, which was fantastic.

“This is early days yet, but we are seeing huge enthusiasm from social care teams, GPs and acute clinicians. It is very exciting to be involved in a deployment which delivers so quickly, and which we can now expand on by developing new care plans and pathways, for example, and bringing in new parts of the health and care economy.”

Benefits reported already by social care staff since go-live include the fact that they can see the latest information at the touch of a button. Where previously they had to send emails or make phone calls, CareCentric presents hospital and GP information directly to social workers – information about admissions and discharges for example, with details such as dates, ward numbers, name of doctors within the hospital setting and so on. Social care staff no longer in turn have to field calls from health staff looking for information.

“The information that social care now has access to and the impact is just terrific,” said Mike Roberts, central systems support team manager at St Helens Council. “We can already see benefits. Our social work professionals can make better decisions because they are presented with the complete view of a person. There are also time-saving efficiencies linked to a reduced need to both answer and make calls relating to information gathering.”

At St Helens and Knowsley NHS Foundation Trust, the pharmacy and emergency departments have so far been the heaviest users, with immediate information on a patient’s lifestyle, immunisations, drug prescriptions and medical history providing immediate benefits in terms of efficiency, care and patient safety. 

Professor Sarah O’Brien, St Helens Council’s strategic director for people’s services and clinical accountable officer for St Helens CCG, said: “I am really proud of this piece of work which has seen all partner organisations in St Helens working together to establish a shared care record system.

“I can’t begin to emphasise how much of a benefit this will be to everyone who works in health and social care and improve the experience of people that they care for.

Markus Bolton, joint CEO of the System C & Graphent Care Alliance, said: “integrated working between health and social care has enormous benefits. We are delighted to see the St Helens Cares community embracing the solution so enthusiastically.

“This project required rapid collaboration from all the participating services and the fact that it was delivered so quickly is a tribute to the teamwork and shared sense of purpose that exists within St Helens Cares.”