Five Health and Social Care (HSC) Out of Hours Service providers across Northern Ireland have significantly improved delivery of faster, safer patient care by integrating The Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR) with Adastra, a patient management solution from Advanced Health & Care (Advanced).
Since the integration was completed in September 2014, Adastra has been used by clinicians in out-of-hours settings to access 160,000 patient records.
Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI) is responsible for the administration of public health and social care (HSC) services in Northern Ireland. The organisation has five HSC Trusts (Belfast, South Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern) which manage and administer health centres, residential homes, day centres and other social care facilities to a population of 1.82 million.
The NIECR (powered by Orion Health Technologies) was established to improve the quality and safety of patient services by enabling the sharing of information from multiple, existing systems across acute, community, primary health and social care settings.
Gary Loughran, eHealth Programme Manager, Business Services Organisation at Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, explains, “We needed immediate access to rich clinical records to provide better, faster and safer care in the hospital and in the community. By consolidating our five Adastra systems into a single, central database which links to the NIECR we have been able to overcome information silos.
“Advanced’s staff were extremely supportive and understood the scale and importance of what we wanted to achieve and successfully delivered the project on time, and to budget.”
HSC clinicians in out-of-hours settings can now view accurate and up-to-date data within a single system. Essential information can be derived from each patient’s GP record including checking medication, adverse reactions and allergies with just one click. This has reduced clinical time when making assessments and increased satisfaction levels as patients do not have to repeat previously given details.
The ability to review recent hospital records and medical histories also helps to ensure effective patient management and reduces risk, whilst avoiding unnecessary admissions or referral to emergency departments.
Dr Graeme Crawford who works in HCSNI’s GP out-of-hours service, says, “The integration of Adastra with the NIECR has been of immense benefit for professionals and patients. We can now quickly obtain contact details for patients not already known to ‘the system’ when an abnormal test result such as cardiac, renal function and blood sugars is forwarded from a laboratory.
“Having immediate access to key clinical information ensures we can give safe and reliable advice to patients by telephone on every shift, rather than a doctor or nurse having to visit from possibly some distance away. This has made a huge difference and it is hard to imagine how we coped before.”
Further efficiencies have been gained within the medicines reconciliation on hospital admission process. Clinicians no longer have to telephone GP practices and wait for them to send a current and historical list of medications that a patient has taken as this information can now be accessed immediately in the NIECR via Adastra, reducing errors and discrepancies.
Loughran comments, “Adastra, by incorporating the NIECR, has enhanced the value of the out-of-hours services in Northern Ireland. To date, there have been over 160,000 launches of the NIECR from Adastra which has increased the effectiveness of clinicians to make better informed decisions.”