West Midlands marks successful health data sharing pilot

A data sharing pilot in the West Midlands has been deemed a success after two care record collaboratives proved they can share data between their separate system suppliers. 

The proof-of-concept test meant that data from a combined total of 848 providers could be shared across integrated care systems (ICSs) for the Collaborative Care Record, marking a step forward in the region’s bid to carry out major health and care improvements for the region. 

person sitting while using laptop computer and green stethoscope near

Dr James Reed, the Chief Clinical Information Officer at the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust was part of the team working on the pilot, he said: ‘The improvement we could make in care, and the pressure that could be taken off the system in terms of cost, time and resources, would be just phenomenal. We can only do this by looking at the bigger picture and sharing data over a much wider area.’ 

The two collaboratives, working with suppliers InterSystems and Graphnet, first came together during the beginning of the Covid lockdowns as the West Midlands Shared Care Record to address the urgent need to share information. The team uses the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources global industry standard for sharing the data between systems. 

Dr Reed describes the importance of the scheme by pointing to a case study of a seriously ill patient who ‘had to provide their care history more than 20 times as they sought emergency help across three different ICS areas.’ 

The Collaborative Care Record also works across the boundaries of six local authorities including the areas covered by the One Health and Care system: Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Black Country, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. 

Dr Masood Nazir is a partner at one of the participating GPs and the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board Medical Director for Integrated Care, he said: ‘There’s also a real saving for practices in terms of time and resources. For instance, I don’t need to send a patient for a blood test if I can see the same test was completed recently elsewhere. 

“When the patient is sitting in front of me, I no longer need to ask members of my team to call providers about results, discharge summaries or outpatient visits, as this information is available to me. This is better, safer and more timely care for my patients.’ 

The sharing of data between health practices is one of the ways that the NHS has been forging a new digital future with another example being the digital health checks system being trialled in Cornwall.

Photo by National Cancer Institute


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top