Improving Care through ICT
The problem was that files sometimes got lost or information was split up in files in different hospitals or different departments so no-one could see the whole picture.
GP Practices and hospitals have increasingly been using computers to improve the way they keep information about their patients – but they have been using separate systems which often cannot exchange information very easily.
As part of NHS Wales Healthcare Reforms programme, the Minister for Health and Social Services approved the development of an integrated information service for Wales in May 2009.
On 1 April, 2010 the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS), was established. It brings together Informing Healthcare (IHC), Health Solutions Wales (HSW), Business Services Centre (Information Management and Technology element only), Corporate Health Information Programme (CHIP) and the Primary Care Informatics Programme (PCIP).
The new organisation is under the overall direction of the Chief Information Officer of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).
The new NWIS organisation is responsible for both the strategic development of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to support the transformation of NHS Wales’ services and the delivery of operational services.
In 2005 the Welsh Assembly Government published its vision for world-class health and social care in Wales in “Designed for Life”. This strategy seeks to recast the role of all elements of health and social care in Wales and develop a more corporate approach within the NHS and with its partner organisations. The new ways of working envisaged in “Designed for Life” will be most effectively supported by and information and communications infrastructure that is also more corporate planned and managed.
The “Healthcare Standards for Wales” (2005) defined a series of standards to improve the quality of services for patients. Standard 12 requires that treatment and care “is
integrated to provide seamless service across all organisations that need to be involved, including social care organisations”. Standard 25 requires information technology to also be integrated.
My Health Online will give patients the opportunity to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, update their general details such as change of address, keep a health diary and make it easier to organise their healthcare, all from the convenience of their home computer.
An electronic referral system is being rolled out across Wales during 2010. Known as the Welsh Clinical Communications Gateway it allows clinical messages to be sent securely from the GP to the hospital.
The Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) is a system that makes it easier to ensure patients are correctly identified and minimises the number of duplicate health records held for each patient.
A new national pathology Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) will allow health professionals to see all previous tests conducted for a patient, and to request new tests, no matter where they are in Wales. It will reduce the number of duplicated tests and will mean that, no matter where a patient receives care, the results of tests will be readily available.
A new, fast health and drug alerts service for community pharmacies in Wales, was launched on1 October 2010. It replaces the previous system of postal and fax alerts and aims to improve patient safety by giving community pharmacies immediate information about drug recalls and hazard alerts.
To help deliver and drive improvements across Wales the Chronic Conditions Management Demonstrator Programme has been established to with an aim to provide and test a sustainable, affordable generic CCM service model, that supports people's needs locally and promotes independent living within the community in order to communicate and inform service change across Wales.
A Carmarthenshire Demonstrator project explored how telehealth technology can be used to detect changes in conditions at an earlier stage in order to reduce the impact of exacerbation on patients as well as on health care services.
The Cardiff Demonstrator has been making pro-active use of the Predictive Risk Stratification Model PRISM tool to identify high risk patients who will benefit from the Clinical Case Management Service and so improve outcomes and referrals management. Prism is a software tool that provides GP practices with a list of patients ranked according to their percentage likelihood of emergency admission to hospital within the next 12 months.
Diabetes is a complex condition, and therefore one that requires a multi-disciplinary team, working on different sites and often in the community. People living with diabetes expect clinicians to have timely and accurate access to their information, no matter what the setting, but this is often not the case.
The 1000 Lives Plus Campaign Patient Identifiers programme aims to support organisations to reduce harm through patient identification errors.