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Sharing patient information produces best outcomes all round

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"One of the biggest challenges is simply ensuring that we’re all working from the same point."

An NHS Trust aims to standardise its systems so everyone involved in a patient’s care can access the information when they need it. Laurelle Morgan Bruce, Clinical Transformation Programme Manager at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust tells Health Tech World how the information is shared

For people to receive the personalised care and ongoing support they need to live the best lives possible, we need to ensure that the right tools are in place. This includes access to good quality information about a person and their needs, which can be shared between health and care professionals, as well as the person themselves and their families.

In February 2020, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust introduced Oxcare, an online health record platform for patients and service users. We started small, introducing the platform to a handful of users last year. By 2026 we hope that up to 60 per cent of the people who use our services will be engaging with Oxcare.

To make this successful, we’ve had to ensure that the information stored on these platforms can be shared between different systems in a standardised way. By standardising the information, it will mean that everyone involved in a person’s care and wellbeing can get access when they need it. At the end of last year, the Professional Record Standards Body, the organisation responsible for developing patient record standards, published a new set of standards for social care. There are five standards in total, covering different aspects of how information needs to be shared between social care and health. As part of the Oxcare programme we implemented the About Me standard in January this year, which covers the important personal information about someone that needs to be shared with both social and health care providers.

Since implementing that standard into our Oxcare platform, we’ve been testing it with users. The feedback has been positive, particularly in relation to the multi-media channels that people are able to use. For example, being able to share videos of how to correctly fit a person’s leg braces or walking shoes. These not only give patients and carers peace of mind, it’s also valuable information for anyone who is caring for the person. Sharing and using this information in the right way can make the difference between adequate and outstanding care, as well as helping people to live more independently where possible.

One of the biggest challenges is simply ensuring that we’re all working from the same point, which means getting a wide range of different groups to collaborate. At the moment we are speaking to more teams within Oxleas, in order to bring more clinicians and patients onto the platform. We’ve been working closely with clinicians to ensure that the About Me section can provide them with a whole and holistic view of their patients, so that they can better tailor everything from treatment plans to the types of services used and the ways people are communicated with. We’re also working to try and incorporate existing platforms that people are using, such as Rix Wiki, so that people can merge all their information without needing to repeat themselves.

At present we’re working with users to tweak the platform to make it more accessible and easy to use. There’s a balance between ensuring that the right standardised information is included, and not overwhelming individuals and the people who care for them. Oxleas has been pleased with the progress so far, and we’re looking forward to making care safer and better for more people using our services in future.

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