Health and social care providers across the West Midlands have started to integrate cancer registry data from patients diagnosed with cancer into InterSystems HealthShare, a shared care record that will support faster care and more accurate decisions.

The integration allows clinicians in the West Midlands to easily view healthcare data about cancer patients across the regional trusts. This allows them to access other specialist expertise, supporting faster, more accurate decisions for optimum cancer care.

The use of InterSystems HealthShare follows on from the West Midlands Cancer Alliance developing a new tool for running complex multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTs). The use of the shared record forms part of it, and brings together data from across the health economy so that MDT discussions are fully informed.

Being able to access InterSystems HealthShare means that care providers can call on cancer registry information, allowing them to optimise critical MDTs across the region.

In addition, giving clinicians access to shared records will broaden the range of detailed information about cancer treatment and diagnosis across the health service as a whole. This will be particularly beneficial for GPs, who will be better informed about their patient’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Breaking down silos

The project is being led by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. Hilary Fanning, managing director of research development and innovation at University Hospitals Birmingham, said: “The driver for these initiatives was a concerted effort to tackle the paper-based silos of information that still exist in many care settings across the UK. The collaborative efforts of cancer care providers from across the West Midlands ICSs has been key to delivery of this initiative.

“Particularly with the most serious conditions like cancer, the treatment for which is often spread across multiple different providers, it is not acceptable to hold up patient’s care because we don’t have access to their health records. InterSystems HealthShare will help us break down these silos and allow us to deliver faster, more joined-up treatment to our patients.”

The initiative is currently being tested across 15 West Midlands sites. The first to go live is expected to be University Hospitals Birmingham, followed by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and then The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

Chris Norton, managing director UK and Ireland, InterSystems said: “In every team meeting, clinicians will benefit from the ability to access each patient’s up-to-the-minute history – all the hospitals they have been seen in, and the procedures, including chemotherapy and surgery, they have had. It cuts out the need to chase information from multiple sources and it has the potential to be genuinely transformational for UK healthcare.“

In the future, it is hoped the approach will expand further across the Midlands. This would allow clinicians to access and share critical cancer registry data regardless of the NHS trust a patient is being treated in.

The announcement of the integration of cancer registry data comes just months after two shared care record collaboratives confirmed they had successfully been able to share data between their two separate suppliers.