I have hazy memories of going to see the family doctor as a child. I remember busy waiting rooms, the scent of hygiene, and secretive brown paper sleeves hiding the details of previous visits. After decades of computerisation, electronic records now replace the paper notes. But, is the clandestine sense of possession still there?
The NHS is changing. It must be more efficient, prevent avoidable diseases and offer better care. Modern, sustainable healthcare services are emerging to address these challenges. They incorporate:
- collaborative working within multi-disciplinary teams
- moving care into the community - at the patient's home or local care hubs
- extending access to healthcare services, with evening and weekend appointments
Our medical histories are personal and sensitive. It is right that you respect their privacy. But, the new shared care services are empowering multi-disciplinary teams to treat your patients. These teams will have a limited understanding of each patient's medical situation. How can this be safe without access to patient records, for every encounter - anywhere, anytime?
You need to share medical records, but this needs to be safe and secure.
Share medical records safely
Each healthcare service is different. A community nurse providing short-term care after a hospital discharge might only need to see the recent information. But, a GP working in an extended hours appointment service would want a complete picture of the patient's health. They also need to add details of their consultation and send it back to the registered GP.
Vision uses sharing agreements, and it's easy to set up sophisticated sharing on a local level. GPs decide what their sharing policies are for each service:
- What data do they need to share?
- Who needs access?
- Will people need to view records or add information as well?
- Do sharing policies differ depending on job role?
- Are there any sensitive exclusions, that they must not share?
Turning these policies into sharing agreements allows Vision to control local sharing. It's simple for GPs but enables sophisticated sharing models at a local level. It's a perfect balance between governance and making information available to improve care.
Vision's sharing agreements can also incorporate patient records from EMIS systems. It all takes place behind the scenes. The clinicians and carers accessing the shared information don't need to know which clinical system each patient's GP uses.
More than record sharing
Collaborative working isn't only about sharing medical records. Vision can schedule appointments for shared services too. Receptionists, carers and clinicians can book appointments for federated or community healthcare services.
The new Vision tasks app will revolutionise healthcare communications. GPs and admin teams will be able to set and track tasks within the practice and with other healthcare teams.
Shared care examples
The growing range of services that are sharing records and appointments with Vision includes:
- Extended hours appointments
- District nursing in community hubs
- Rural GPs working at many practices
- Community nursing
- Centralised pharmacist medication reviews
- Shared nursing staff for practices co-located in one building
There has been a lot of progress since I was a child. There is no doubt that electronic records are far better than paper notes. The next step is to make record sharing the norm across the country.
If you work in a GP practice, federation or cluster and don't know how to get started with record sharing, get in touch. It's a lot easier than you might imagine.