The Department of Health and Social Care is introducing a technology-driven change which will improve patient care, reduce paper-based administration and eliminate the need for patients to repeatedly explain the same information to each person who treats them. General Practitioners and other community health care providers across the Island will work with joined-up patient information.
Using the Island’s GP software system, the first phase of the change will see patient information shared between surgeries and the Hospice, adding to the network which includes the Island-wide Manx Emergency Doctors Service (MEDS) for out of hours GP contact. The next phase will extend the programme to include Community Nursing teams, with Health Visitors and School Nurses, District Nurses, Long-Term Condition Nurses and Specialist Nurses all able to share data with the relevant doctor.
The initiative forms part of the Island-wide Digital Strategy and is a key component of the Programme for Government, with its commitment to “digitally transform the hospital and health and care services more generally”.
The rules governing what information is shared, and who it is shared with, have been set to make sure that patients remain in control at all times. Consent to share their information will need to be given by the patient at each and every point of contact with a healthcare professional, whether the GP or other specialist.
Patients will not be obliged to share their data. In certain circumstances, for example where the patient’s mental capacity is a concern, GPs can override consent so that medical records will not be shared.
The main patient record only will be shared. It will not include any handwritten notes or comments.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Paul Edge, Head of Business Information Management – DHSC Digital, said:
“We have kept patient care and patient safety at the front of our thinking as we have put together this programme of data sharing. With that in mind, I am confident that this new approach from GPs, Hospice and the full range of Community Health specialists, is going to be a significant step forward in improving efficiency and reducing duplication across the health service. And that has to be good news for patients, health care professionals and the Island as a whole.”
The Executive Director of Government Technology Services, Richard Wild, agreed:
“It’s great to see another delivery for the Digital Strategy, and further proof that a modern, secure approach to information can lead to real improvements and positive benefits for patients. I know that there are plenty to more to come.”