Barts Health NHS Trust will share patient information with Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust via a first-of-type UK link between their Cerner Health Information Exchanges, due to go-live this summer.

Barts has also extended the use of its HIE amongst local GPs since adding radiology reports. It is due to add pathology results this month.

Barts Health was the first English trust to go live with Cerner’s HIE in late 2013 and the system links with 142 GP practices.

Barts chief information officer Sarah Jensen said the trust is finishing off data sharing agreements with Homerton, but hopes to be live this June or July.

The initial link will only allow the exchange of information between the acute providers as the GP pracitces involved will have to sign new data sharing agreements to allow the primary care data to be viewable.

“It will allow Barts Health acute users to see the Homerton acute data and vice-versa and we will phase in GPs being able to see it once another data sharing agreement is done,” she said.

She added that lots of eyes are on the Homerton project as it will be the first to link HIEs in the UK.

Other Cerner trusts using the information exchange have been in contact about connecting in the future. Five sites are already live with the technology and another six are planning to deploy the HIE, according to Cerner.

Barts is also testing a link with mental health provider, the East London NHS Foundation Trust, which uses the RiO EPR from Servelec. This will be another first-of-type connection in the UK.

Hits for Barts’ HIE were averaging around 1,800 a month last September, but are now up to 3,000 and rising every week.

Jensen said usage really took off amongst GPs when radiology reports went live on the system in December last year.

“When GPs realised they could see real-time radiology reports their adoption and viewing rates pretty much doubled, if not more,” she told Digital Health  News.

Whipps Cross Hospital transferred onto the Barts radiology information system and picture archiving and communications system from Sectra at the end of February, which means it is now contributing radiology reports to the exchange.

Pathology reports will also become available at the end of this month, which will allow the trust to turn off a separate pathology results viewing system that it provides for GPs called CyberLab.

“This helps us to achieve our goal of enablement, both on the GP practice side and the acute side; for practices they get to see clinical data within the context of the full patient record in their own system,” Jensen said.

While viewing numbers are increasing, the trust is still engaged in an awareness and adoption campaign to increase usage as some practices are much higher users than others: “so there’s room for additional capacity and we’re hoping views per month will steadily increase,” she said.

The exchange is live with all GP practices in Tower Hamlets and Newham, and all but six in Waltham Forest. Originally only live in Emis surgeries, nine of the Waltham Forest practices use TPP’s SystmOne.

Barts is also in talks with City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group about extending coverage even further, but is focused first on getting the Homerton link live.

The GP information is shared with the acute trust via Healthcare Gateway’s Medical Interoperability Gateway and includes information such as; appointments; adverse reactions; medications; problem lists; procedures; and vaccinations.