University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has gone live with the first phase of a Cumbria-wide resource matching and e-referral system.
The bespoke system, implemented by Strata Health, is intended to integrate with the electronic patient record systems in use in acute, mental health and community providers and with GP systems. Organisations without EPRs, such as care homes, will get web-based access.
The first go-live means that all outbound communications from Furness General Hospital to social care teams will be automated through the system.
Furness General is part of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, an ‘early adopter’ for CSC’s Lorenzo. Other trust sites will follow within the next few weeks.
In a statement on the go-live, Steve Fairclough, head of health informatics at Morecambe Bay, said existing application programme interface feeds had been used across the Lorenzo and Strata platforms to give clinicians “a seamless workflow with patient care at the centre.”
Cumbria is well-known for its work on sharing information between secondary and primary care, using the Medical Interoperability Gateway created by Emis and INPS.
However, in January its shadow clinical commissioning group announced that it had bought an ‘air traffic control’ system for patients, to automate referrals into acute care and out into other services.
At the time, chief clinical information officer Dr William Lumb said this would make a reality of a single patient journey through different parts of the health and social care system, and enable it to be planned and tracked.
While Morecambe Bay is now live with the first elements of the system, Steve Johnstone, deployment manager at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said it was making progress on integrating its discharge system with the Strata platform.
The intention is to make council and social care plans live across its sites, with implementation starting at West Cumberland Hospital.
Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is also looking to improve the referral process to social services, and hopes to go live at the end of June.
Lumb, said that while the go-live was a significant milestone, a lot of work still has to be done. “The new year will see further, significant gains in what will be real innovation and tangible outcomes in patient and system advancement,” he predicted.
Once fully functional, the new system will connect the two acute trusts, more than 100 residential care homes, 80 GP practices and other services.
The organisations involved in the project include: NHS Cumbria CCG; Cumbria County Council; University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust; Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.