Healthcare professionals in Wales can now access digital patient information across all health board organisational boundaries, NHS Wales Informatics Services (NWIS) has announced.

In January, the millionth digital test result was viewed between health boards via the Welsh Clinical Portal – Wales’ digital patient record for hospitals and health boards.

January was also reported as the busiest month to date for viewing out-of-area patient information, with more than 49,000 test results shared between health boards.

Cardiff and Vale became the final health board in Wales to adopt NHS Wales’ digital radiology results reporting service in December, available through the Welsh Clinical Portal.

As a result, clinicians in Welsh hospitals are able to view all radiology and pathology test results from across Wales in one place.

Having access to results produced in neighbouring health boards saves time, informs clinical decisions and means fewer duplicate tests and scans are needed for patients.

Griff Williams, project lead for the Welsh Clinical Portal, said: “Reaching the milestone of one million test results viewed across Welsh health board boundaries demonstrates the scale of value that can be generated when a national product is fully implemented.

“Our plan for the Single Patient Record is to further increase the level of digitised healthcare available to NHS healthcare professionals, including endoscopy, lung function and genetics results.”

Digital dashboards

At the same time, NHS Wales is developing new digital dashboards to provide insight into patient outcomes, identify variations in care and link condition-specific data at a national level for the first time.

The interactive dashboards link different aspects of the patient journey, including audit data and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS).

The intention is to identify interventions that work best for patients based on their individual circumstances, and highlight variation in services and outcomes.

This data-driven approach to decision making will provide the information needed to determine which interventions are effective.

NWIS is building the dashboards in support of the Value-Based Healthcare (VBHC) programme, which is aimed at improving patient outcomes in Wales while protecting overstretched NHS budgets.

The National Lung Cancer Dashboard was released last year, and this will be followed in 2020 by dashboards for heart failure, knee replacements, stroke, cataracts and colorectal cancer.

Work is currently underway to develop a second-generation lung cancer dashboard, building on the success of the current dashboard, and evolving to meet more sophisticated user requirements.

Sally Cox, NWIS information specialist leading dashboard development, said: “Data has the power to have a direct impact on the care and the care choices patients can make. For example, a patient should be able to use the evidence available to inform a decision on whether to have chemotherapy, or whether a replacement knee would improve their quality of life.”

“To provide the whole picture needed to identify variations in care, we need to bring together all available data.

“Collecting data in isolation, or in silos based on geographic area, won’t help us to provide the best possible outcomes for patients.”

The dashboard programme is being delivered in collaboration with clinicians, Welsh Government and the Finance Delivery Unit.