New health records sharing plan introduced for Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
Patients in Suffolk will experience more efficient liaison between healthcare providers, thanks to a new medical records system.
My Care Record allows different healthcare providers to access up-to-date health records of patients, which aims to make the service more efficient, reduce waiting times and prevent needless mistakes.
Developed in May last year, health professionals previously needed to seek permission from patients for their health records to be shared between organisations, but now must 'opt-out' rather than 'opt-in'.
It means that 75% of the county's one million patients are now signed up, giving them an increased prospect of good care.
Among the benefits for patients will be the ability to see exactly which organisations are part of the scheme, a reduced need for different health organisations to have to ask patients what medication they are on, and the ability to find out key details for vulnerable patients quicker.
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It means that unnecessary tests will not have to be made, saving time and money.
It could also help prevent the kinds of missed information that can contribute to serious failings or deaths.
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Julie Irving, information sharing programme manager with the Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: "It will cut out the unnecessary questions.
"A community nurse treating someone in their own home can work out a care plan in 20 minutes instead of 90 minutes - there are huge efficiencies to be had here.
"It's better for patients who don't know what medication they are on."
According to the CCGs, many patients incorrectly thought this was technology the health organisations already had in place.
The scheme has cost £230,000 to set up, with a further £70,000 in future improvements.
The wider plan is for it to be introduced across the whole of the region.
Currently voluntary organisations are not signed up, but future developments plan to introduce those where necessary.
Dr John Oates, clinical lead for integrated care at the CCGs, said: "We can start to look at services as one.
"If an ambulance and a GP share information in real time for example, you can start to make operational changes around a patient to support them, and you can see how that will make a difference to the quality of care."