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Access to Care and Health Information Exchange delivers benefits for care homes

Orion Health supports secure roll-out by incorporating multi-factor authentication used by banking and shopping apps



One of England’s best-known shared care records is helping to join-up health and care services by rolling-out access to care homes with the support of its technology provider, Orion Health.

The Care and Health Information Exchange, which operates across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, has been able to offer secure access to care homes after Orion Health incorporated the kind of multi-factor authentication that is increasingly common in banking and commercial services.

The move means that staff at care homes can access important demographic and clinical information about their residents by going to the CHIE website, entering their login details, and then entering a one-time access code that is sent to their smart phone or device.

Josh Horder, who leads the Digital Social Care Programme for NHS Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said this has opened up access to organisations outside the NHS secure network; and the impact on care homes has been “profound”.

“During Covid-19, there was a focus on discharging patients from hospital,” he said.

“Admissions to care homes were being arranged much more quickly than previously, so care homes wanted access to the information in CHIE so they had information about their new residents immediately.

“Today, we are in a different place with the pandemic, but my ethos for the Digital Social Care Programme is ‘more time to care’; and the delivery of CHIE to care homes absolutely underpins that ethos.

“Care home staff can spend more time with residents, because they don’t have to leave the floor to find information.

“It’s also better for residents and their families, because they only have to tell their story once and pass on important details once.”

The Care and Health Information Exchange was founded as the Hampshire Health Record 18-years ago.

It announced that it was moving to Orion Health in 2019 and successfully completed the shift in July last year.

To support the roll-out to care homes, Orion Health incorporated the Keycloak open source identity and access management solution.

The shared care record’s administrators use Keycloak to create user accounts and users download their choice of authentication app to generate the one-time access codes.

Google Authenticate, OTP Auth, and Microsoft Authenticator are all supported. CHIE access was piloted at 50 care homes and subsequently offered to all the care homes in the region that want it.

Liliana Macieira, manager of the Woodley Grange care home in Romsey, said the new system as been “a lovely journey.”

She explained:

“We used to spend a lot of time on the phone to hospitals, GP surgeries and other professionals to collect information about our patients, but now it is all there for us.

“It means we get to spend more time with residents. We can get all the information we need with a single click and get on with providing a better quality service.”

Mia Williams, senior lead at the Oaklands Rest Home in Marchwood, said:

“We started using CHIE a few months ago, and it has been brilliant. It enables us to deliver person-centred care.

“Residents and their families know that we know everything that we need to know to look after them. It is just a click of a button and everything is in front of you, which is just perfect.”

So far, around 160 care homes have taken up the offer of access to CHIE, and the shared care record project is encouraging more to sign-up.

Katharine Guthrie, stakeholder engagement and benefits manager, said:

“This is all about joining up health and care, by looking beyond the traditional users of a shared care record, and bringing them into the CHIE family, safely and securely.”

Brian Murray, UKI regional sales director at Orion Health said:

“It is wonderful to see a well-established shared care record opening up access to new organisations and to hear about the huge difference that this has made to care home staff and residents.

“We know that access outside the NHS’ secure networks is a challenge, which is why we were happy to support the introduction of multi-factor authentication as a possible solution.

“We look forward to other shared care records taking the same kind of innovative and forward-thinking approach.”

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