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How information sharing helped an NHS trust in its fight against coronavirus

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A pioneering information sharing platform is supporting clinicians during COVID-19 pandemic.

The software, designed by US company Allscripts, gives clinicians access to more information about the medical history of their patients, allowing them to quickly access their drug history, past discharge summaries, and notes without having to log-in to different systems.

When the pandemic hit, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust accelerated the roll-out of the Allscripts dbMotion information sharing platform.

This included adding medications information from the IT system used by local GPs and data feeds from the trust’s pathology, imaging, and document management systems.

Chief information officer for the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, Adam Thomas said: “We had the dbMotion platform in place, but we really accelerated work during the coronavirus outbreak to support clinical decision making earlier in the patient journey.

“During a pandemic, it is vital that clinicians have access to the medical history of their patients, so they can triage them effectively and direct them to the right care.

“Doctors treating Covid-19 patients also need past history, underlying conditions, medicines and allergies to speed treatment decisions. We were able to give them that using dbMotion.”

One of the first elements of the software to go live was the linking of medication data from GPs with A&E departments. This allowed those working in A&E to instantly see patient’s GP records, saving clinicians valuable time.

Subsequent features to be added to the platform included an electronic discharge system, lab results and electronic observations.

Thomas says one of the key reasons that the trust was attracted to dbMotion was its ability to sit on any IT system that clinicians used in their day-to-day workflow.

This means clinicians are not required to actively search for data through multiple platforms and portals. Instead, they are able to find information about their patients in real-time on one system without logging in.

This is one of three features which dbMotion says makes its system unique in the market. Richard Strong, vice president and managing director of Allscripts, says its ‘context linking overlay’ and ‘semantic harmonisation’ also set the software apart from its competitors.

Strong describes the dbMotion system as a set of tools which takes data that is displayed in different ways, puts it together, normalises it and then makes it available to share back to clinicians in the way they want to see it.

Allscripts call this semantic harmonisation. In other words, when data is stored in dbMotion, it is displayed in the same format, regardless of how it was previously stored and processed.

Speaking to Health Tech World, Strong said: “We’re bringing things in from potentially hundreds of different systems into dbMotion which is then normalised, so you have comparative data and seamless records.

“For example, clinicians can see every prescription a patient has had in the format they are used to, regardless of where it came from.

“dbMotion has the ability to then show that to a user in the way they want to see it, irrespective of the source system and the way it was generated. Other systems don’t do that. They will show you the information, but it will be displayed as it was in the system that it came from.”

Context linking overlay is the software’s notification system, displayed as a blue button which highlights where new information is available. So, rather than searching other applications for the data they need, clinicians are alerted through the dbMotion system.

Strong said: “When you’re looking at a patient, dbMotion is in the same context and focused on the same patient and user; this is context overlay. The blue button is then the extension of that. What it basically does is show you notifications, but it will only show you the notification for things that aren’t already in your system and you don’t already know about.”

“The notifications might be regarding drugs, they might be lab results, or they might be a discharge message.”

With Integrated Care Systems (ICS) playing a major role in the NHS’s long term plan, Strong believes dbMotion could have a key part to play.

He said: “We’ll probably see some changes over time in how the NHS is structured, moving more towards the ICS model. Products like dbMotion are perfect for a vertical organisation that has primary care, secondary care, community care and tertiary care because being able to share information from all of them in a meaningful real time way will be vital.”

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  1. Pingback: Clinicians given digital tools to do every day jobs - Health Tech World

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