This month marks one year since Hertfordshire and West Essex (HWE) Integrated Care System was connected to the London Care Record. In this blog we spoke to their Programme Director, Trudi Mount, who reflects on the positive impact it has made and their plans for the future.
13 December 2022
Why was HWE connected to the London Care Record?
We started rolling out the Hertfordshire and West Essex Shared Care Record relatively recently, in October 2021. It is still developing but now brings together information from GPs, acute trusts, out of hours, mental health, community providers as well as some hospices, and Hertfordshire County Council, covering a population of around 1.5 million people.
Joining the London Care Record was high on our priority list from the start. We achieved this just two months into our roll out plan, even before we had connected to many of our local providers.
Many people who live in our area travel to London for specialist care and naturally because we border London, some Londoners also receive treatment here. The latest data shows that over 14,000 Londoners a year receive treatment in Hertfordshire and West Essex and around eight per cent of all patients treated in North Central London were registered here.
It therefore clearly makes sense from a clinical perspective to join up with our colleagues in London and we are keen to continue to work together to increase the number of providers sharing valuable information.
What difference is it making to patient care?
Overall, our frontline health and care staff have viewed our shared care record around a quarter of a million times in the past year.
Secure access to information from the London Care Record gives our care teams real-time access to patient records from several London acute trusts and GPs. This is helping them to better understand the needs of their patients and make the best decisions about their care.
This is just one of many case studies from clinicians in Herts and West Essex showing where the information from London has made a real difference to the outcome of care provided:
Dr Oliver Holman, A&E Doctor, The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust:
“I use the Shared Care Record for every patient that I see in A&E. It saves a lot of time and makes decisions easier. It is crucial.”
Hear more from Dr. Holman in this video about how being able to see previous care records from a hospital in Croydon avoided the need to admit a patient and meant he was prescribed the right medication to control his seizures – a much better outcome for the patient.
What are the next steps in Hertfordshire and West Essex?
We are still adding more partners to the shared care record and, in the same way we have connected to the London Care Record, we hope to connect to the shared care record that covers the other parts of Essex and Suffolk early next year.
We continue to work with all partners to raise awareness of the benefits of the shared care record so more staff use this important tool. We are a relatively small team and equally we understand the pressure that teams are under, so we try to focus on providing quality resources that make it easier for our partners to support their staff consistently. For example, we recently developed a series of training videos that can be used by all partners.
In terms of London data, we are looking forward to adding Urgent Care Plans to the information available to our staff. We don’t have any tertiary care centres in Herts and West Essex so it is common for patients to travel to London for specialist care. Given that urgent and unplanned care such as an admission to A&E are still likely to happen locally, rapid access to the Urgent Care Plan from the tertiary centre in London will make a significant difference to many patients with complex needs.
To sum up, we are very proud of what we have achieved over the last year, not least that we were the first ICS outside of the capital to connect to the London Care Record. We are also really excited about maximising the benefits of the shared care record and the opportunities that remain. It is fantastic to work in a programme where the progress and benefits for both staff and residents are so tangible.