Connecting health and care records to improve communication, effectiveness, and safety

Published: 18 January 2023

Keyboard and stethoscope

Secure information sharing between health and care providers will give front-line staff instant access to patient records, helping them to work together, save time and make better-informed decisions.

The NHS has been working to connect the different computer systems used by hospitals, GPs, and other health and care providers into ‘shared care records’: secure technology that allow staff to view a summary of up-to-date information when delivering care.

The two shared care record systems used by providers in Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk were connected on 17 January, increasing the amount of information available to health and care staff across the area.

Dr Richard Burridge, Consultant Paediatrician at West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust describes how having access to a joined-up record has improved care within the Children’s Emergency Department at the hospital:

“The shared care record supports us to treat the children we see quickly and safely: we can instantly view key information such as allergies and medications recorded by the patient’s GP, and we get a much fuller picture of the care they are receiving from other providers."

Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive Officer of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, explains why bringing the shared care records together will further benefit staff and the public:

“Over the last year, we have made considerable progress in implementing the Hertfordshire and West Essex Shared Care Record to support care in our area. However, people often receive care from multiple providers in different locations. They may live close to the boundary of two counties or travel to access specialist treatment.

“Making more joined-up information available to staff when they have an individual in front of them will save valuable time, reduce repetition, and prevent delays. Data saves lives.”

More information about how health and care organisations in the East of England are working together to join up information is available at www.mycarerecord.org.uk.