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New record sharing system to improve health and care in Dorset

Health and social care organisations in Dorset are celebrating the award of £1.35 million to create a seamless electronic record system for patients.

The Dorset Care Record (DCR) will bring together information from hospitals, GPs and local councils, meaning details of a person’s medical or care history – and their needs – will all be in the same place.

It will not only improve co-ordination and communication between different agencies, improving treatments and reducing delays, and meaning people will have to tell their story only once.

The DCR – which will be based on a secure computer network and have an ‘opt out’ facility for patients who do not wish to be included – should be rolled out from April next year.

It is supported by the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (DCCG), Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Dorset HealthCare, plus Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole.

The grant funding for the project – from the NHS England Integrated Digital Care Fund – was announced during a meeting of local health and care organisations at Upton House, near Poole on Monday, 2 February.

Harry Capron, director for Better Together, said: “We are delighted to secure funding for this hugely important project. We are all looking to work more closely together, to make more efficient use of public money and deliver a better, more joined-up service to the public. The DCR represents a giant step towards that goal.”

The DCR will bring together a range of patient/client information, including:

  • health problems and diagnoses
  • prescribed drugs
  • blood tests, pathology and X-ray results
  • next of kin, carer and care provider
  • hospital discharge letters

 

Dr Forbes Watson, chairman of the DCCG, said: “Local NHS and council social care services currently have many different computer systems holding health and care records, and not all of these are connected with each other. The DCR will create a combined record that can be looked at wherever  a patient or client is being treated. Everyone will be on the same page, and so there will be a much more seamless delivery of care.”

A similar system is already in place in Hampshire, with plans for Wiltshire to follow suit, giving the potential for shared information and improved care when people move across county borders.

There is also the long-term possibility of extending the system to share data with other health and care organisations, such as hospices, which meet security criteria.

Borough of Poole leader Cllr Elaine Atkinson represents the leaders of the three councils on the ‘Better Together’ programme, which is spearheading work to integrate health and social care services more effectively across Dorset. She said: “The DCR will make a big difference to health and care professionals, giving them a common, comprehensive view of a person’s health and social care history and needs at the touch of a button.

“They will have a much better chance of preventing avoidable health problems, reducing hospital admissions and ensuring people receive exactly the right kind of care and support they need, wherever they need it.”

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