Mental health provider staff using intuitive interoperability technology to save time through better access to patient data and to support remote patient monitoring
Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust is empowering staff to connect IT systems to each other so they can more effectively share information and help deliver more coordinated care for patients of the mental health NHS trust.
Staff at the trust, which serves over 400,000 people, have quickly got to grips with using the latest interoperability technology to make systems talk to each other. This means data held in one clinical or operational system can be used in others, which helps to save staff time searching for information and reduce the number of unnecessary tasks.
Hertfordshire staff explored how the technology could respond to their information sharing needs in the summer, and proved that they could use the solution themselves. Within a matter of weeks staff had done most of the development necessary to connect data from the organisation’s Civica electronic patient record (EPR) for use with other systems.
Now the trust has the digital capability to be able to save time, as it will make it easier to search, create and – where possible – update information held on service users, referrals, assessments and case notes. They can also access data from other systems if required, even if those systems do not communicate directly with the EPR.
Staff used the same technology – which comes from global healthcare interoperability leader Enovacom – to help automate the trust’s flu campaign, even though they had little prior knowledge of interoperability nor much of the associated technology before work began.
Team members confidently connected appointment and email management systems, even though the systems use different API protocols – which traditionally makes connectivity difficult. The trust was able to contact a list of active staff members to set up appointments to have a jab, and sent email reminders to those who had not.
In this short period of time, the trust has also been able to integrate telehealth equipment with the EPR. Readings that service users take at their own home, such as blood pressure, glucose levels, 02 saturations etc, are automatically entered into their records in the EPR. Abnormal reading trigger alerts to clinicians, prompting responsive care.
“Interoperability is a fundamental part of the digital transformation of the NHS as it looks to realise the clinical, safety and operational benefits of data-driven care. This work means trust staff have the tools and skills to master our data integration destiny.”Avi Reddy, Head of Information, Business Intelligence and Systems Delivery at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
Interoperability having a huge impact in mental health
Interoperability was recognised as an obstacle to the digitisation of healthcare in the NHS Long Term Plan, and is cited as the top priority for digital leaders in the most recent NHS IT Leadership Survey. It also enables better data sharing. This was cited as a key priority cited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in its 2019 report into the work of mental health trusts in the new integrated care systems emerging across the English healthcare system.
Hertfordshire has been working with Enovacom – whose interoperability technology is used in more than 1,600 hospitals across the world – since the spring, and training started in July.
“We are already seeing how quickly staff can use Enovacom technology to connect data and systems, which is helping share information to underpin the continuous improvement of the delivery of care. This will have a tremendous impact on our interoperability and integrated care ambitions.”Avi Reddy, Head of Information, Business Intelligence and Systems Delivery at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
Enovacom’s Mark Smith recognised the importance of interoperability for Hertfordshire, and other mental healthcare providers. He said: “The work with Hertfordshire is a highly timely demonstration of how the power of interoperability can be harnessed directly by NHS staff, which is hugely useful as mental health trusts look to digitise in the most cost-effective way possible, in keeping with the vision for mental health in the NHS Long Term Plan.
“Mental health trusts might not feel they have the resources to help advance their digital ambitions in the way they would wish. With Enovacom, they are given the holistic interoperability toolkit that will help them make the most of the technology and data they possess, using the resources they already have. They have more control over their digitisation journey.”Mark Smith, Business Development Director in the UK for Enovacom
About Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT) provides health and social care for over 400,000 people with mental ill health, physical ill health and learning disabilities across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Norfolk and North Essex. HPFT employ nearly 4,000 staff who deliver these services within the community as well inpatient settings.
The Trust also delivers a range of nationally commissioned specialist services including Tier 4 services for children and young people, perinatal services and medium and low secure learning disabilities services.
HPFT offers a high quality service and is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).