Health and social care providers across Berkshire are sharing health and care information electronically on up to 850,000 residents in one of the country’s largest shared care record projects.
The first major phase of Berkshire’s shared care record initiative has gone live. Known as Connected Care, the new clinical system links key health and care information about Berkshire residents for professionals involved in their care. The system enables the sharing of resident information across two different Sustainability and Transformation Planning footprints, covering 98 GP practices, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (an acute hospital in Reading), Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (a community and mental health trust), two local authorities and the out of hours General Practice services.

The integrated record sharing solution is built on Graphnet’s CareCentric shared record software. Phase one of Connected Care involves 18 health and social care partner organisations and up to 12,000 health and care professionals who, with the individual’s permission, can access essential information about the person to enable the right care at the right time from many different service providers.

The remaining NHS trusts and councils are being brought onto the system within the next few months as part of a phased rollout. This will include Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, South Central Ambulance Service and five other local authorities.

The project is a key part of Berkshire’s strategic response to transform the delivery of health and care services in England, and is being coordinated through SCW enabling a full package of programme management for the multi-million pound solution.

Nigel Foster, Finance Director for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Programme Board lead for the Connected Care project in Berkshire East, said: “The vision behind this project is all about helping us make speedy, informed decisions, deliver more co-ordinated services and harness the latest available technology to improve clinical effectiveness, so that patient care is seamless.”

As well as combining information held in different IT systems, the shared record will allow innovative future developments, such as the creation of individualised care plans, creating co-ordinated multi-agency care for individual patients and enabling new ways of delivering services. Patients will only need to tell their story once and healthcare professionals will be able to work together, with access to all the key information about a person, to give timely and seamlessly coordinated care.

The project also plans to provide Berkshire residents with Graphnet’s myCareCentric patient portal, which means they can access information about their care from across health and care systems enabling them to be more involved in their care.

Clinicians and care professionals are already reporting real patient care benefits from having a single source of information about an individual, shared with their consent and covering their whole health and social care needs.

A children’s nurse explained by way of example: “I needed to use Connected Care whilst working a shift at the children’s respite centre to clarify a medication dose prescribed by the GP. Without this service I may have needed to make several phone calls and the child may not have been able to attend respite. When I have approached parents for their consent they have always been willing and think that this is a really good idea.”

“Another colleague uses Connected Care to keep track of whether patients identified as at risk of needing an urgent and unplanned medical intervention are complying with monitoring programmes and medical advice. They are then able to target their interventions accordingly.”

Berkshire East and Berkshire West CCGs selected Graphnet’s CareCentric shared record software as the backbone to the Connected Care initiative last year through a competitive process to find a digital solution that could bring together different sources of information to enhance patient care. A major focus from the outset was to build a bedrock of support for the record sharing project, with 71 clinicians, care professionals, patients and service users actively involved in the procurement and selection process.

Michael van Hemert, Managing Director, SCW said, “This has been a huge project with real potential to make a difference to patient care in Berkshire. I’m delighted SCW has been at the centre of bringing the key organisations together and that it has been welcomed with such a positive response. To see such tangible and enthusiastic feedback from a digital intervention is rare and, I believe, the result of the great teamwork and commitment shown by all involved.”