Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has rolled out the North-West London care information exchange to patients for the first time, allowing them to access and share their record.
The trust has used the Patients Know Best portal to give 500 patients across its five hospitals access to appointments, blood test and radiology results.
The service is being offered to rheumatology, renal, colposcopy and neuro-oncology patients, but the trust hopes to expand portal access to all users eventually.
John Kelly, the trust’s head of system solutions, said the exchange takes a copy of the clinical record held in the trust’s Cerner system, and makes it available to the appropriate patient and clinical staff through a portal.
In the next few months, four acute trusts in North West London are expected to start feeding information into the exchange, followed by one of area’s mental health trusts.
It’s early days for the project but the plan is to eventually connect the exchange to all NHS and social care organisations systems across North West London, to provide patients and their carers with a single portal into their health records.
The patient could give clinicians, family and carers access to part of all their records, as well as adding to information to the record themselves. It could also be used to deliver other services, such as video consultations and messaging.
The trust is also running trials on several other functions for the exchange, including secure messaging, shared care planning, integration with mobile devices such as home blood pressure monitors, symptom monitoring and patient journal.
Kelly said the project has moved more slowly than expected, with the delays caused by information governance issues and building interfaces into different systems.
Connecting to GP systems, an important part of any health information exchange, has been particularly challenging.
However, Kelly said progress is being made, with a pilot connecting the exchange to Emis Web now underway. “It is just the lack of available interfaces for a lot of other systems.”
The exchange has been funded by the Imperial College Healthcare Charity, at least until the middle of next year.
By then, Kelly hopes enough information will be on the exchange, and being used by patients, to build a business case for further expansion.
Benjamin Ellis, the trust’s roll-out champion for rheumatology, said feedback from patents so far had been positive. One early survey found that 60% of patients felt the exchange gave them more control over their health.
“For people with long-term conditions, being able to access their results helps put them in control and at the centre of their care. Patients have been really positive about this.”
Kelly said that among the high needs groups that had activated their portal, the uptake had also been high, with about half of the 500 patients using the portal on a weekly basis.
Digital Health Intelligence maintains a database of the administrative and clinical systems in use at trusts, and uses this to calculate a clinical digital maturity index score for them. Imperial College (log-in required) has a score of 88 (out of 95) and is ranked 18 (out of 153).