​​​​Developing a Sutton Integrated Digital Care Record (Sutton IDCR)

In February 2015, NHS Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group and the London Borough of Sutton were awarded £436,000 by the Department of Health's Integrated Digital Care Fund to develop a Sutton integrated digital care record (Sutton IDCR) and enable relevant health and social care staff to share records for the benefit of people registered with a GP in Sutton.

By providing a single view of information from the existing stand-alone systems, the Sutton IDCR will make it possible for doctors, nurses and care professionals to have access, once the patient has given consent, to an integrated care record (ie a record that holds relevant health and social care information). This project will lay the foundations of data-sharing across the care community in Sutton.

If you are wondering how this differs from what happens now, the reality is that some data is already routinely shared between health organisations to make sure that patients receive appropriate health care.  For instance, at the moment if you go to A&E in an emergency, the doctors and nurses in the hospital will inform your GP and other relevant health staff, such as community nurses,  about your treatment in A&E and any follow-up that is needed. This new system essentially will make this information exchange safer, speedier and more accurate by providing a system that can be accessed by both health and social care professionals, which in turn should lead to better health outcomes for you, the patient.

It is important to emphasise that your information will only be accessed from this system after you have had the opportunity to discuss the Sutton IDCR with your GP and/or social care professional.  You can also "opt out" of the new way of sharing information.  Your health and social care data will not be included if you opt out.  Social care clients will be asked to give their explicit consent before their records are added to the Sutton IDCR.

The project will link local GP systems in Sutton and the social care system at the London Borough of Sutton to the shared record, enabling GPs to see social care data whilst they are sitting with a patient in the surgery. At the same time, relevant aspects of the GP record will be available to other authorised health professionals in community and hospital teams as well as some social care professionals.

There are, of course, many benefits to enabling health and social care staff to share patient/service user records. Initially work will focus on linking social care information so that health care professionals can see important basic information such as details of a patient's social worker or responsible team and contacts. We estimate that even having this basic information could save up to half a day's delay/effort for each case where the patient/service user is unable to provide the relevant information.

The new system will also bring a number of time-saving benefits to health and social care services in Sutton, enabling them to run much more efficiently. For example, GPs and practice nurses will be able to quickly establish whether a patient has a care package in place and what is included, and community nurses and social service staff will know what medication and health issues a patient has that they need to be aware of. In turn, this should help to reduce the number of people being admitted to hospital in an emergency due to better medication compliance and monitoring.

We started a phase roll-out in December 2015.

For more information on the Integrated Digital Care Fund go to  The Integrated Digital Care Fund: Achieving Integrated Health and Care Records.​

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