University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is using the InterSystems HealthShare Spine Mini Service Provider to accelerate NHS Number tracing and improve the quality of patient data.

The trust previously relied on a weekly batch trace system to validate patient information against the PDS. It says this meant patients were often admitted, treated and discharged before the data was returned.

The HealthShare system means trust staff will have on-demand access to the PDS from the Spine, ensuring that a patient’s record includes their verified NHS Number by the time they are triaged so their associated medical information can be found.

HealthShare will also help it to avoid penalties that are imposed for failed to use NHS Numbers as a patient’s primary identifier.

Ian Brewer, the trust’s IM&T development manager, said HealthShare will help the trust to improve data quality with the NHS Number, giving staff more time to work on the tasks that “really need human intervention”.

Brewer said the trust is currently sending an average of 3,300 requests through the service daily.

In addition to tracing NHS Numbers, HealthShare has also helped Southampton to get up-to-date GP information for its patients, he said.

“This is particularly relevant for patients for whom we do not have a registered practice recorded, and so could not direct GP correspondence appropriately without time-consuming manual investigation.”

Southampton is already using the InterSystems Ensemble integration engine for its applications, and is sharing information from its patient administration system with approved users at other NHS trusts across South West Hampshire and the Solent.

Steve Garrington InterSystems’ international vice-president, said: “There is a clear business case for trusts to update their systems to ensure better communication with the national Spine, and to use and achieve more accurate demographic data.”