In 2013, Lincolnshire, the fourth largest county in England, undertook a major review aimed at transforming its health and social care services. The goal was to move healthcare out of hospitals and situate it closer to patients’ homes wherever possible. To realize their ambitions, the Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (LSTP) partnered with InterSystems in 2016 to bring together a myriad of existing systems into a unified care record they named “Care Portal.”
Underpinned by InterSystems HealthShare, Care Portal was already live across the region, so when the coronavirus pandemic arrived, it was possible to rapidly add COVID-19 alerts. Within a matter of days, the combined development team from InterSystems and LSTP added a specified alert to the Care Portal showing when a patient had been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus at a hospital, along with the result. The alert allows providers to immediately respond with the appropriate care, both acutely and when discharged. The alerts extended to notifying the care team, so also making sure that anyone involved in the patient’s care remain safe and informed.
Compared to other regions in the UK, Lincolnshire has a disproportionately frail and elderly population, and COVID-19 can be even more life threatening within this group. The UK reports that a quarter of known COVID-19 deaths have been in care homes. To combat this, LSTP also make community lab test results available in Care Portal so patients with positive tests can be isolated or removed from the care homes.
If a patient is admitted to hospital, HealthShare continues to play a vital role. It connects clinicians with necessary patient information held in the primary care record – information such as conditions, medications, and allergies may either be unavailable in hospital records or may be out of date. HealthShare provides access to the information via the UK’s “GP Connect” service, which allows any provider involved in the care of a patient, to view the primary care record information. Having instant visibility to information the patient either may not recall accurately or is unable to communicate can prove invaluable to provide quick and safe diagnosis, and treatment.
Furthermore, officials at LSTP are working to ensure that citizens still receive the best care and do not become anonymous patients during this pandemic. They have created a short-form, personalized care plan that can be created to support patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. Now, bolstered by medical information already available in the Care Portal, care providers will also know the main priorities and important information determined by the patient about them, their wishes, and their care. LSTP plans to make longer form personalized care plans available to all citizens in the near future.
This story originally appeared the July 10, 2020 - HealthShare Connections News Flash No.3: COVID-19 Pandemic newsletter