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“Joined-Up Health & Care” Begins a New Tradition in London

Close-up of doctor using tablet to review patient records

By Erica Bennett, Marketing Programmes Manager, InterSystems

When I started working at InterSystems’ London office six years ago, I did not have a healthcare background. I paid my National Insurance, as most people did, but fortunately did not need to lean on our healthcare system. Since then, I’ve been privileged to work with professionals who are making a difference to the delivery of care in the UK, and I’ve come to appreciate the complexity of delivering effective care to a local community, let alone to a whole nation.

Thus, when we embarked this year on organizing the annual InterSystems Symposium for the UK, our customers inspired the direction. And so a new tradition was born: the Joined-Up Health & Care event in London, where we gave the stage to those customers. (“Joined-up care” is the UK equivalent for what our U.S. colleagues would call “connected care.”)

Sometimes, when organizing a major event, one can become so entwined in managing every detail and keeping an eye out for disasters, one can miss the actual presentations. Fortunately that wasn’t the case this year, and I sat and listened to exceptionally motivated individuals describing what they are doing to deliver effective care – whether the patient is treated at a GP clinic, hospital, or any other care facility. South Devon, for example, has a clear vision on delivering joined-up care across all care settings in the region – a resident population of 280,000 plus an additional 100,000 on holiday each year. To join up all the care settings involved in a whole region requires a strong consultative team. It is not just about delivering another new IT system, but working with the physicians about what they need to do the best job possible. Oncologist Mike Green brought the vision to life for us from the perspective of a specialty highly dependent on team-based care.

One of the top topics in the UK press is protecting vulnerable children. There was a huge media storm around the death of Baby P in 2007 – a 17-month-old child who died from abuse, which was not detected because visits to different healthcare facilities were treated as one-offs. As a result, the UK is now nearly live with the Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) project, which gives health professionals prompt and easy access to key social care information that can help them assess if a child is at risk. CP-IS is a major initiative led by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the national provider of information, data and IT systems for commissioners, analysts and clinicians in health and social care. We were fortunate to be joined by Tom Burnett, of HSCIC, as well as Steve Ouko, Systems Integration Manager, Homerton University NHS Foundation Trust, from for an update on the project. This is a project that means so much to people, and the level of support from Homerton University Hospital Trust and the pioneer hospitals really is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

We heard from physicians and informaticians; from those connecting communities to those collaborating on better care throughout the entire UK. We heard about leading-edge research on genomics, the value of healthcare information standards, and the costs of disconnected care.

These examples and others discussed at Joined-Up Health & Care are all for the betterment of population health and patient care. As noted earlier, I have rarely needed to use the NHS, the UK National Health Service, but I am immeasurably grateful that we have it available. And I’m so inspired by the people working together to provide better care, with IT playing a huge part in creating a more efficient environment to allow physicians to do what they trained to do – treat the patients.

Erica Bennett

Erica Bennett is Marketing Programs Manager for InterSystems in the UK.