Data Powers NHS Glasgow’s Fight Against COVID-19

Thanks to early investment in data-informed healthcare, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde pulled ahead in the race to respond — and stayed there

VialsAlthough the pandemic posed challenges for health and care worldwide, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) in the United Kingdom had prepared for the inevitable. More than a decade ago, the organisation adopted a data-driven and digital-first approach to healthcare delivery that made it easier to reconfigure plans at speed to meet expected volumes, create new treatment pathways, and integrate primary care and other services into a comprehensive response.

Laying the Ground Through Digital Transformation

One of the largest healthcare providers in Europe, NHS GGC serves 1.14 million people and employs 39,000 staff. In 2010, GGC implemented the InterSystems TrakCare® unified healthcare information system for acute services and allowed it to feed the system-wide Electronic Health and Care System (EHCR).

During the pandemic, TrakCare enabled GGC clinicians to manage patients on COVID and non-COVID pathways, providing visibility to essential patient data. What’s more, the technology alerted physicians in near real time when their patients tested positive. Alerts were even visible on TrakCare floor plans, streamlining identification of infected patients.

Using TrakCare, GGC set up six Community Assessment Centres (CAC), where the organisation directed patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms following triage by phone, and four Specialist Assessment and Treatment Areas (SATA), where GCC conducted further tests and assessments before admitting or discharging them. The organisation created 30 outpatient clinics, 68 ward builds and conversions, and amended intensive-care unit layouts to support the effort. From day one, InterSystems TrakCare enabled GCC staff to connect to all care facilities, CACs, new wards, and even a convention hall turned into a temporary COVID-19 hospital called NHS Luisa Jordan. That connectivity empowered clinicians to coordinate the patient journey in assessment centres, hospitals, and elsewhere.

In the assessment centres, providers used TrakCare to record clinical outcomes. They also placed laboratory requests through TrakCare Order Comms and Workbench functionality.

In the first two months of the pandemic, TrakCare processed more than 1.6 million COVID-19 test results and 16,617 workbench requests. GGC also implemented the system in NHS Louisa Jordan in weeks.

With TrakCare, GGC staff managed workflows and patient treatment pathways from initial diagnosis — including identifying significant comorbidities — to discharge. As teams expanded and patients progressed, new staff used TrakCare to update vital clinical records. And through TrakCare’s real-time analytics features, GGC administration leveraged up-to-the-minute dashboards, allowing them to draw critical insights to swiftly respond to the changing situation.

“The way InterSystems has supported us has demonstrated incredible effort, professionalism, and expertise — all of which contributed greatly to helping GGC to respond to the pandemic so rapidly,” said Denise Brown, Head of eHealth Strategy & Programmes, eHealth Directorate, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Scotland.

Next up? GGC plans to leverage TrakCare to expand its telehealth and digital care offerings, in a bid to double down on recent innovations even after the pandemic ends.

After all, GGC wants to respond quickly when the next crisis hits. Just like the healthcare organisation did, in part through its use of TrakCare, during COVID-19.

This story originally appeared in the July 6, 2021 – OnTrak News Flash No.8

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