Different location, different system, same information
Different IT systems exist in healthcare settings in the UK. A GP practice in Stirling, a hospital in Swansea, or a care home in Southampton will all capture similar information, but that information is unlikely to be transferable. There are some great examples of systems working in harmony. If you work in Leeds for instance, you are likely to be part of the Leeds Care Record (see the blue box at the side of the page). It provides health and social care professionals access to the most up-to-date information about patients, by sharing appropriate information from medical and care records between health and social care services in Leeds. But as a patient, you may live in Leeds, but your child might become poorly whilst you are visiting friends in Surrey and you would want the GP there to have access to the health history of your child. This can only happen if we have interoperable systems which can “speak” to one another.
The PRSB develops and helps to implement information standards for the structure and content of care records. These cover, for example, hospital referral letters, handover communications, discharge summaries, and inpatient and outpatient letters. The latest published and approved set of standards are Standards for the clinical structure and content of patient records
During 2016, they will deliver several projects for new care record standards, including: crisis care and end of life care; ambulance handover to A&E; medication needed for patients being discharged from hospitals to GP care; mental health summaries for people being discharged from inpatient and adult day case care to GP care; and clinical and professional leadership in implementing the care standards. Other projects starting are standards for discharging patients from emergency departments back to GP care; outpatient letters; discharging patients from hospital to care homes; and children’s care information standards.
What can I do?
Visit the PRSB website to find out more about their work. You can join a mailing list to be kept informed about current and future projects.
If you are an RCN member, we are always looking for people to review draft PRSB documents, respond to surveys or attend workshops. If you would like to help shape PRSB activity by ensuring a strong nursing voice, email us at email@example.com.
Do you know who your Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) is? If you work in the NHS, they are likely to be involved in procuring IT solutions. Raising awareness of the work of the PRSB, and why it’s so important to ensure the interoperability of electronic health records across health and social care systems, would be a great way to support the vision of better records for better care.
Matt Butler, RCN eHealth forum steering committee (incoming Chair)
Annette Gilmore, RCN eHealth forum steering committee
Dave O’Carroll, RCN Programme Manager (Information and Resources)