The teams have been working together over the past two years to develop an Information Sharing Gateway (ISG), which allows certain organisations to share relevant healthcare information and data safely and securely. More than 400 organisations in Lancashire and Cumbria, including hospitals, GPs, third sector organisations, police and schools are now using the system which allows them to demonstrate that they are sharing personal information with each other in a safe and efficient way.
The organisations who are part of the ISG share data to ensure seamless care for patients wherever they turn up for treatment – whether it be at their GP, their local hospital or another organisation. This helps the clinicians who are delivering care as they have all the relevant information in front of them when they see the patients, and also for the patient as they don’t have to repeat themselves to each clinician they see. Access to health care data is also essential to health research, leading to improved treatments and patient outcomes. All information sharing is carried out with the correct consent and in adherence with Data Protection Act principles. The ISG captures these arrangements and any associated risks electronically.
The team gave a presentation to a panel of judges at a Connect conference in Blackpool last month, where they were presented with the award. Kevin Whittaker, Programme Manager for I3, UHMBT, said: “The award win is a real coup for the team. Patients rely on the efficient and safe sharing of their data to ensure that clinicians have access to the information they need - whenever and wherever they access treatment.”
Organisations using the system can put Information Sharing Agreements in place with efficiency savings of more than 500%. Kevin added: “The new system has improved and modernised the administration and risk assessment of information sharing between organisations. Patients will also benefit from the improved healthcare outcomes that result from sharing health data in an appropriate way with research institutions and universities.”
In the last year, the ISG system developed by the UHMBT team has been adopted by 1,510 organisations nationally and one internationally.
Aaron Cummins, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance, UHMBT, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the team. The ISG system now means that data is able to flow between organisations where there is a justified purpose. This allows a much more seamless delivery of care and provides clinicians with complete and up-to-date information.”
Future developments include a system where a patient at a GP practice can find out instantly how their information is being shared. This is subject to an Information Commissioners Office (ICO) grant funding application which, if successful, will make this available within 12 months.
The team has been shortlisted for the ‘Improving Care with Technology’ category at the 2017 Health Service Journal awards. They will present to a panel of judges next week.