Two shared care record collaboratives in the West Midlands have confirmed the successful sharing of data between their two separate suppliers, boosting hopes for the region’s care vision.

The proof of concept carried out by the collaboratives – each made up of three integrated care systems (ICSs) – highlights the potential for expansion of the footprint of their shared records.

The two collaboratives first joined forces as the West Midlands Shared Care Record during the Covid-19 pandemic to speed up access to shared information.

The Collaborative Care Record delivers shared care records covering Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire and Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Working with InterSystems and Graphnet they used test data to demonstrate interoperability between their own system and the one used by the adjoining shared care record.

One Health and Care serves Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Black Country and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It has been live for nearly a year and incorporates information feeds from the region’s GP practices, councils, acute trusts, mental health trust, ambulance trust, specialist trust, hospices and care homes.

In addition, other systems, such as Oracle Cerner which is used by several hospital trusts in the region, are already being connected within the collaborative areas, increasing the depth and breadth of available data.

The shared care collaboratives now included data from a combined total of 848 providers, serving 6.1 million people in the West Midlands.

In cases where care often crosses ICS boundaries, the move will improve patient care and make processes and data sharing easier for healthcare professionals.

Dr James Reed, chief clinical information officer (CCIO) at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, has been involved in the testing process.

He said: “The improvement we could make in care, and the pressure that could be taken off the system in terms of cost, time and resources, would be just phenomenal.

“We can only do this by looking at the bigger picture and sharing data over a much wider area.”

Data from six local authorities

The Collaborative Care Record has successfully integrated information from six local authorities, giving it one of the largest number of social care records in the country. This has enabled social work professionals to gain a more complete picture of the people they’re supporting, allowing them to closely meet their needs.

Reed added: “…when you consider these programmes are fundamental to the delivery of integrated care, and underpin and help deliver most of the digital transformation happening in the system, you really start to see their value. Things such as secure data environments couldn’t happen if the data wasn’t shared in the first place.

“For our populations, systems and patients, I have absolutely no doubt it’s the right thing to do.”

There are now plans to now connect around 600 community pharmacies in the West Midlands to further the reach of the shared records.