Community mental health goes digital

Posted on Wed, 31/07/2019

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust have digitised and standardised patient records in Community Mental Services. The EMIS system allows clinicians to access patient notes while working in the community. It was launched in partnership between the Trust, Community Mental Health Services and all 36 GP practices within the Gateshead area.

The project has eliminated the need for dual entry of Community Services into GP systems. Prior to this project, nursing staff had to dual enter into two separate instances. Thus, the new system allows more time to care for patients. It has also standardised ways of working for data sharing and managed referrals and for cross organisational tasks e.g. internal messaging service; which saves time by reducing lengthy telephone calls.

With the patients consent, the one single record can be viewed by multiple clinicians simultaneously, helping to provide more informed and joined up and decision making. Most importantly the EMIS system allows community teams to access patient records through mobile devices allowing them to access and update records out in the community. Thus improving care and reducing the need to return to base.

The project team have worked closely with the Community Mental Health Team and the 36 different GP practices within the Trust’s footprint to ensure all parties were delighted with the digital solution of EMIS and to ensure installation and go-live was a true partnership.

As part of the project the team engaged all parties in a number of ways. Firstly they attended GP Practice Managers Meetings to promote the benefits of a shared care record. Secondly they negotiated a data sharing agreement with the Gateshead Care Partnership (GP’s) followed up with individual visits to each of the GP practices managers to ensure all questions were answered and any concerns were dealt with prior to review and sign off.

The team worked with EMIS and community staff when attending practices to switch on data sharing and cross organisation tasking. The collaborative nature of having nurses, GPs, EMIS and the project team working together built trust and ensured that all aspects of the system was robustly examined prior to going-live.

Digital records are not novel, however having a digital patient record that is utilised by Community Mental Health Services and all parties within secondary and primary care is truly ground breaking.

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