Two areas have demonstrated good collaboration and use of digital solutions during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have both used technology to deliver “positive and timely” services for patients, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

The CQC undertook a national programme of provider collaboration reviews in a bid to support providers deliver health and care through shared learning.

As part of it’s urgent and emergency care review the independent regulator found “creativity and innovation, as well as rapid developments” in responding to the pandemic.

“Technology has helped in many aspects of health and social care during the pandemic, including for many people their access to primary care services via virtual appointments,” the review found.

“Sharing of electronic patient records across all sectors has also been a big help in many places.”

In Herefordshire and Worcestershire electronic patient records were used to record known patient vulnerabilities to better protect them from Covid-19.

Emergency clinicians were able to see information before a patient arrived at hospital, including whether they were on the shielding list, to better prepare them for the care they needed to provide.

Collaboration between the local government and health services also saw a wider range of children with multi-agency support flagged on hospital emergency department information systems, better equipping clinicians to know when a child is vulnerable.

Care homes across the area were also provided with tablets to enable remote consultations, allowing for virtual ward rounds and more timely access to care, the CQC stated.

In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, work that began before the pandemic proved “valuable” as Covid-19 began to spread. Care homes were given observation equipment and staff provided with the necessary training to improve remote triage of patients, a service that became more frequent during the pandemic.

The CQC notes that collaboration in some areas were longstanding but others were “forged by the pandemic”.

The watchdog will be continuing its national programme of provider collaboration reviews over the year to eventually cover all local systems across England.

Rosie Benneyworth, chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care for the CQC, said: “We think it is important to share some positive examples of innovation and creative approaches found during our reviews now.

“We heard some inspiring stories of how the pandemic served as a catalyst for change. Many systems accepted that usual governance and funding considerations came secondary to meeting the needs of people requiring urgent and emergency care during a crisis.”

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