Three local areas are set to receive funding allowing for closer integration and more effective record sharing between hospitals, GPs and social care, NHS England has announced.
Greater Manchester, Wessex, and One London will receive £7.5m cash injections over two years to implement an electronic shared local health and care record.
The three areas, together covering 14 million people, were selected among other bidders in a process that will see them become one of five new local health and care record exemplars (LHCRE).
The LHCREs are designed to give ‘health and care staff better and faster access to vital information about the person in their care, so they can determine the right action as quickly as possible’.
In a statement, NHS England said: ‘At the moment, in many local areas GPs and other care professionals are often not able to access crucial patient information quickly if it is held in another part of the health service.’
Through these partnerships, which are made up of one or more STPs, CCGs, hospital trusts, ambulance trusts and local councils, clinical staff will be able to reduce unnecessary patient tests and improve safety.
An NHS spokesperson said the funding for each exemplar will go to one organisation, chosen by the LHCRE, which will hold the funding on behalf of that exemplar.
The NHS is now in talks with the other areas that are to become an LHCRE, to see which two can join the initial group later this year.
Building on success
The NHS said that similar projects led by local organisations had already brought success in improving patients’ experiences of the health system.
For instance, patients in Rotherham can leave the hospital faster as community nurses are aware when their patients have been admitted to hospital. This allows them to plan in advance what needs to happen for the patient to be ready to go home.
NHS health and care chief information officer Will Smart said: ‘By sharing information across a larger population, we can ensure that as people move across the different parts of the NHS and social care they don’t have to repeat themselves and provide the same information time and again.’
Chief clinical information officer for health and care Dr Simon Eccles said: ‘Sharing information for people’s individual care can be lifesaving by quickly providing staff with the details they need, from patient histories to previous test results and care plans.’
The announcement ties in with the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), giving patients greater control over how their personal data is used.