Developments in technology are helping to cut wasted staff time and connect health and care services in Lincolnshire together.
The Care Portal – a secure computer system that lets users view an integrated care record for patients – brings together selected patient information from multiple organisations in real time.The system doesn’t create any new records, simply pulling up information from linked systems and presenting it in a single view.
As this information has previously only been shared by phone and paper records on request, the Care Portal simply makes the information available more quickly, freeing up the time of clinicians which they can spend with patients.
David Smith, who is leading the development of the Care Portal, said: “Patients have made it clear they are frustrated when they have to repeat their story several times to different staff during their care.
“Lack of access to patient information is a crucial hurdle to joined-up services and a problem which currently wastes valuable staff time.
“The Care Portal allows multiple health and care providers to securely share essential patient information between professionals within the county, allowing health and care workers access to patient information when they need it.
“Currently it can take hours to share this information among organisations, with clinicians and administration staff phoning round to chase up records, referrals and results.
“Through the Care Portal, this information can be accessed in seconds.”
Multiple health and care systems are currently connected to the Care Portal, with work underway to connect more including Lincolnshire County Council’s adult social care system.
More than 20 Lincolnshire GP practices also have access to the system, along with nearly all clinical staff in United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) and Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS).
David added: “The feedback from users is positive, with staff saying how easy to use the system is.
“Primary Care and LCHS staff are able to access information faster, such as radiology reports and can see if a patient has an appointment booked at ULHT, as well as the progress of referrals.”
Moving forward, the team will look to integrate information from neighbouring counties and trusts where Lincolnshire patients receive treatment as well as launching the Patient Portal later this year which will allow patients to view their personal health information from multiple providers.
This could include upcoming appointments, referrals, letters and test results.
You can find out more about the Care Portal by visiting http://lincolnshire.nhs.uk/together/care-portal