Information sharing across the NHS
... London's 1st polyclinic
Redbridge Polyclinic is London’s first purpose-built polyclinic. Serving a population of 50,000 patients, it forms part of Redbridge PCT's commitment to address health inequalities in the area.
By investing in polyclinics that bring a range of services under one roof, PCTs hope to improve the health of their local communities. As well as offering healthcare, these ‘super-surgeries’ will include wellbeing, community and voluntary group services from agencies such as Age Concern and Carer Support Services.
Running polyclinics or developing polysystems highlights one of the fundamental problems facing PCTs: how to share information.
Redbridge Polyclinic is home to over 20 services, including pharmacy services, minor procedures, walk-in services, mental health services, outpatient appointments, therapy and diagnostics. It uses a variety of clinical information systems to deliver these services, including EMIS, InPractice Systems and SystmOne (GP and community health systems), CSE-Servlec (community health) and Tynedale (podiatry). Practitioners, clinicians and nurses working in the polyclinic need to have access to these different systems to obtain information about their patients.
The issue facing the polyclinic is how to bring together information within these disparate systems to provide better-coordinated care for patients, while maintaining the privacy, accuracy and security of the information.
PCTs look for certain attributes in a system to ensure that information is shared effectively between different systems and service providers. Typically they look for:
- Flexibility: Any new system should be able to work with a range of different applications within health and social care. Real time: Users must be able to share information in real time.
- Ease of use: It should be possible to update all systems by inputting information just once, rather than having to re-enter the same data over and over again into separate systems.
- Security: Information must be secure, both when it is stored at rest and in transit across the network.
- Access: To keep the data accurate and maintain patients’ privacy, it is crucial that only people with appropriate rights have access to information.
- 360̊ view: Having a complete view of a patient’s situation will help clinicians to plan the most effective treatment.
- Planning: The system should help managers understand and determine demand for different services so that they can allocate resources appropriately.
- Timely: The solution should be quick to deploy and easy to understand and use.
To bring Redbridge’s different systems together and create a more efficient solution, Hytec proposed a proof-of-concept project using its integration framework, Integral Xchange™.
The project aimed to demonstrate how the polyclinic could combine its current clinical systems to give professionals a single view of patients’ data. It would be able to create secure user accounts with role-based access, and allow users to access patient data from three different systems, giving an unprecedented view of patients’ primary and secondary care history.
With the prior agreement of the suppliers of the EMIS, Tynedale and CareFirst systems, Hytec spent two weeks creating a proof-of-concept environment using Integral Xchange™ to integrate information from the three systems.
The need to share healthcare information effectively is increasingly common. There are many instances where information is shared for a patient’s wellbeing – for example, between a GP and hospital, or between a PCT and Adult Social
Integral Xchange™ enables healthcare organisations to share information between service providers, resulting in better-coordination of patient care.
The system comprises three components: Integral Xview™ Integral Xhub™, and Integral Xindex™. It can also interface with applications developed using Hytec’s Integral mForms® toolset, which lets developers build applications for users to access information using mobile devices. Integral Xchange™ can work with any computer system.
Integral Xchange™ makes it possible for GPs, care workers, health visitors, out-of-hours doctors and even emergency services professionals to access consolidated records (complete records that comprise individual data items extracted from different systems) at the point of service delivery, using desktop, laptop, tablet PC, handheld PDA or BlackBerry® smartphone devices.
How healthcare organisations can use Integral Xchange™ to access clinical systems
"Greater use of IT systems to manage, track and, in some cases, pre-empt medical conditions are a key element of our vision to offer more effective care closer to home. It is a case of working smarter and making better use of the data we already have. This offers a clear integrated system that supports our goal of helping create ‘seamless’ healthcare where patients are treated quickly and effectively."
ConorBurke, Borough Managing Director, NHS Redbridge