NHS Dumfries and Galloway has deployed a system from NextGate that can identify and match patient records of children across different organisations.

The Scottish health board is using Enterprise Master Patient Index in order to integrate the disparate clinical systems used by children’s services across health, social care and other public services.

It presents relevant clinicians with a consolidated view of the patient record taken from existing systems and clinical portals.

EMPI works by using probability matching tools that can identify and match individual patient records held in different organisations, regardless of variations in how the individual is referenced.

At the moment it includes information from the health board and social care information from the local authority. There are further plans to integrate information from other services including child protection, police, education and housing.

The hope is that staff can make more informed decisions when delivering care for children and spend less time searching for details.

Speaking to Digital Health News Dan Cidon, chief technology officer at NextGate, said NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s decision to go with the system was influenced by NextGate’s existing relationship with Orion Health, which the region is looking to use as a portal.

“What we provide is a service to help them identify the patients. For example, in an Orion physician portal they create a clinical care summary which aggregates data together.”

Cidon explained that NextGate was already working successfully to aggregate patient information into the Orion portal in other areas of the UK, including North London, Northumbria and Avon.

He added that this sort of work could be done between NHS organisations by using the NHS Number as an identifier, but a system like EMPI is necessary when using data from a wider range of services.

Graham Gault, general manager ICT at NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “We now have a powerful and sophisticated tool to link children from records and datasets that use NHS Numbers, social care numbers, police references, education references and any other type of identifier.

“We can now share relevant health information with partner organisations, where appropriate, using proper information governance protocols, so that the best decisions can be made, and the safest and most effective care delivered for children.”

The work builds on existing efforts to provided integrated care in NHS Dumfries and Galloway. 

Last year the health board announced it is creating an electronic shared care record to integrate primary and secondary care data using CareCentric software from Graphnet.