Column: Technology boost for patient records

The CQC told BMI The Duchy Hospital in Harrogate that it must improve last October.
The CQC told BMI The Duchy Hospital in Harrogate that it must improve last October.

If you’ve had a health problem that has involved seeing different care professionals at different times you’ll know how frustrating it can be in having to recount your medical history to each of them separately.

If you’re a patient registered with a Doncaster GP practice, you may well have been in contact with multiple local health and social care organisations at different times in your life. Each will have kept records of your treatment whilst in their care, which in many cases will be stored on a number of different computer systems.

That information is recorded and stored securely but the problem is those organisations have different technology systems that can’t talk to each other. So, for example, it hasn’t been possible for your GP to look at the detail of any hospital stays you’ve had. Similarly, if you’ve seen a hospital consultant they have not been able to see your medical history in your GP records so often have to ask for all that information again.

But that’s about to change thanks to developments in computer technology. We’re ready to start developing a shared care record for Doncaster patients that will enable relevant information about you that’s stored in different places to be viewed in one go. In a nutshell, it means that local NHS and social care professionals who are involved in your care will – with your consent - be able to share the most up-to-date care information about you with one another in a ‘virtual’ way.

Over the next 12 months we’re piloting this new joined-up way of working with clinicians and support workers who are involved in the care of elderly and frail Doncaster people. Around 350 staff working for six local authority and NHS care services in the borough will be able to see relevant information about you in your health and social care records.

Having access to an integrated care record will help the respective care teams who are looking after you to determine the best care and treatment programme for you. Importantly, it will enable the seamless transfer of your care between, for example, hospital and community based services without you having to repeat your health history to a number of different staff.

There are many benefits for both patients and professionals, including: better co-ordinated and safer care; less paperwork; fewer unnecessary tests and assessments; more time to spend on care; and more efficient use of health and social care services.

Crucially, the only people who will be able to see your records will be those who are directly involved in your care and they will only be able to see details relevant to their role. Your information will be kept safe.

public, or passed on to a third party, or used for advertising.

In the next few weeks you will see more detailed publicity about the roll-out of the Doncaster Integrated Care Record.