Milton Keynes is expanding its shared electronic patient record project to include community and mental health services.

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, which provides these services to the town’s population, is being added to a shared record that already lets the 27 local GP practices access the full medical record of any patient registered in the area.

The initial project was led by NHS Arden and GEM Commissioning Support Unit to connect the 27 practices as part of their implementation of TPP’s SystmOne, which completed in the summer of 2013. More than 260,000 records have been migrated onto the single shared record.

Central and North West London is now looking to join up to the service after going live with SystmOne Community, SystmOne Community Hospital and SystmOne Child Health across its Milton Keynes sites in September this year, following its decision to switch from Servelec’s RiO.

David Churchill, head of clinical systems at NHS Arden and GEM CSU, told Digital Health News that having one single system in the form of SystmOne is helpful when it comes to creating the shared record. “It massively simplifies it. In terms of SystmOne – it’s pre-integrated if you will.”

He added that once Central and North West London is joined up to the record, GPs in Milton Keynes will be able to use a tab in their SystmOne system to view what’s happening with a patient in a community or mental health setting, and vice versa, provided a patient gives consent.

“That’s hugely important in terms of being able to see medications and not repeat things that have already been tried before or to double dispense,” said Churchill.

As an example he said that a patient’s dispensing nurse and doctor may both give a patient two paracetamol tablets if they are blind to what the other is doing.

“All these things are about clinical safety but they are also about given a patient control over who sees their record and which part of the record is seen by which clinicians,” said Churchill.

NHS Arden and GEM and CSU has already expanded the system to some non-GP practice settings, including primary care outpatient clinics for areas such as dermatology and gynaecology, where clinicians can access the GP records and add their own notes to the same record.

Similar capability is also being rolled out to the local hospice for patients receiving palliative care.

Further plans to expand include expanding access to the shared record to the local urgent care centre. This will be supported by investment from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

Churchill said that work is being done on even wider integration. “It’s been an ongoing project and we are still nowhere close to completion. We’d like to involve greater connectivity with acute hospital and to social care.”

The team is currently working with Milton Keynes Council on using the same software to provide multidisciplinary teams across health and social care access to a patient record where appropriate.

On the acute side of things, Churchill said that he hopes the region can fully digitalise the process for discharge letters from Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which currently involves faxing or mailing letters and then scanning them into the system.

Instead, Churchill hopes that when a patient leaves hospital that there is a direct electronic data exchange between the hospital’s acute system Cerner Millennium and SystmOne.