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Data-driven decision-making is finally within reach

27 October 2020

By James Ormonde, business development director, Graphnet

We’ve all now seen that digitisation can move at pace when it needs to – the standing up of virtual consultations and the use of care co-ordination apps to allow clinicians to communicate away from the bedside are two obvious examples. 

For our part at Graphnet, we’ve helped customers put in whole shared care record systems in a matter of weeks – a job that has taken some care communities literally years to achieve. 

A prime reason for the speedy responses we’ve witnessed is refreshingly simple. It is so much easier getting busy people into a room to make decisions if they just have to dial in to a call, rather than get in a car or train and travel for miles.  Shared care records are by definition complex, linking multiple settings (and IT systems) and requiring sometimes dozens of CIOs to come to an agreement before patient information can be shared across a whole care system.  Much faster decision-making has been made possible by the use of Teams.

Agreeing Information Governance
Now the diary problem is largely out of the way, it is in theory straightforward to deploy shared care record systems that are compliant with IG legislation.  After all, every care economy that sets out down this route gets there in the end, and at Graphnet our implementations now have sharing agreements covering 20 million citizens

But despite the fact that this is a well-trodden path and we have standard documentation, it can still take a long time to get the IG agreed across a care community.  The COPI notice has proved to be a game-changer here.  A temporary fix to allow for information sharing in response to Covid-19, COPI is the second major reason why the deployment of shared records has picked up pace so successfully.  Great news that NHS X is now looking to introduce a more permanent fix, setting up an IG portal to provide care professionals with the clear, consistent guidance they need to share information confidently. 

Accelerating deployments during the pandemic

Finally, Covid-19 has provided an all-too-real demonstration of the benefits of record sharing.  It was this understanding that drove Greater Manchester to rapidly accelerate its shared record system across all 10 localities over the course of the summer.  It is using alerts and notifications for patients who have been tested or diagnosed with Covid-19 and to flag whether they are self-isolating or have been hospitalised, and is now looking at setting up virtual wards to monitor and manage high risk positive patients. 

Frimley is doing the same. It is using our case finding software to identify patients at high risk of a severe outcome so monitoring and appropriate interventions can be arranged in the community, in a bid to reduce the impact of coronavirus and the risk of hospitalisation.

And across Cheshire & Merseyside hundreds of care professionals are using our dashboards to understand rates and patterns of infection across the region, to have a real-time picture of emergency admissions and ICU occupancy and to inform mutual aid arrangements.

No wonder NHS CEO Simon Stevens has announced a major push, backed with central funding, for all care systems to put a shared care record system in place by 2021.  The time frame is really challenging – which is why we’ve put together a handy checklist of 6 ‘must-haves’ for every shared record system starting out down this route.  In dealing with coronavirus, we are all engaged in a scramble for knowledge and understanding.  If ever there was a time for interrogating longitudinal data and collaborating across a whole care system, this is surely it. 

James O

If ever there was a time for interrogating longitudinal data and collaborating across a whole care system, this is surely it.

Covid tracking with border resized

Read how Frimley ICS and Berkshire West ICP have improved their monitoring and reporting of Covid-19 using our Population Health analytics.

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