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London Ambulance Service trials real-time access to patient data

The NHS Identity Service pilot enables clinicians to access summary care records on secure iPads

The London Ambulance Service is taking part in an NHS Identity Service pilot aimed at providing real-time information on patients while on the move.

Camden Ambulance Station is the initial user base for the trial, which involves 60 medics having access to patient summary care records (SCRs) on secure iPads.

The NHS Identity Service is the authentication service developed by NHS Digital to enable access to clinical information at the point of need. It replaces the need for the N3 connection using a smartcard to authenticate to the system.

The NHS is developing its own platform for online identity verification instead of using the Verify platform created by the Government Digital Service (GDS), due to concerns that Verify may not be secure enough for all NHS services.

According to NHS Digital, being able to access patient information, such as long-term conditions, allergies and ongoing prescriptions, while they are in pain or distress is expected to shorten the time medical staff need to spend with patients and reduce A&E admissions.

“By being able to securely access patient information on a tablet device at the patient’s side, our clinicians will have more information at their fingertips, enabling them to provide better and more informed care,” said chief clinical information officer at the London Ambulance Service, Stuart Crichton.

The pilot with ambulance clinicians is expected to last 16 weeks, during which time project teams will be provided with information and feedback from a technical and user perspective.

Future plans include enhancing functionality of the tool and making it available for Windows and Android devices.

Following the pilot, the initiative is set to be extended across the capital for all frontline London Ambulance Service medics. Project teams are also looking to pilot the mobile tool in different care settings.

Last year, a study by King’s College London found that data from outside the NHS, such as information on weather and traffic conditions, could be vital to improving ambulance services.

The report noted that the London Ambulance Service and government should partner with Transport for London (TfL) to get near real-time traffic data to allow them to better navigate the roads. Access to mobile network data would also help ambulance staff make better decisions, it added.

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