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Four health boards in the North of Scotland have joined forces to link up health and social care data across the region.
NHS Highland, NHS Grampian, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland have begun work to deploy a health and social care portal from supplier Orion Health, sharing data across primary, secondary and social care.
The first phase of the project is to develop a shared care record, linking up data from the health board’s patient management systems, picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), emergency care summary data and details from the Scottish Care Information stores in the region.
It will also let clinicians access information from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which also uses the Orion portal, as some patients in the North of Scotland attend hospital appointments in the city.
The second part of the project goes further, and includes primary care and social care, giving clinicians access to GP and social care data such as care plans, which is due to go live in early 2019.
The portal itself will be hosted by NHS Grampian, and the health board’s clinical director of ehealth, Steve Baugley, said it will “increase the amount of data healthcare professionals that will be able to see from day one”.
“This will help us make better assessments of patients and improve care quality. Clinicians have been involved in helping to shape the new portal and are excited by its possibilities,” he said. “The data integration will be supported by the establishment of strong information governance and data sharing practices, and a regional board to oversee the process.”
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A recent report from the Scottish parliament’s health and sport committee found that the NHS in Scotland has a reluctance to take up digital systems, with one of the major barriers to the NHS adopting new tech being a lack of willingness by staff to change their ways of working.
However, Scotland also has great pockets of innovation and joined-up care. As well as this project in the North of Scotland, three hospitals across two Scottish health boards are currently piloting a digital pathology service, and the launch of the Scottish NHS’s data-sharing system, the Scottish Primary Care Information Resource (Spire), is often hailed as a huge win for the country’s NHS.