Case study: Cheshire and Wirral safely and securely shares documents between care settings

Mental health trust partners with Advanced to use Docman Connect cloud-based digital messaging platform to meet NHS standards on Transfer of Care documentation

The organisation

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (CWP), vision is to work in partnership to improve health and wellbeing by providing high-quality, person-centred care.

The trust provides health and care services for local people in partnership with other organisations, including mental health and learning disabilities, community physical health, and all-age disability care.

It has services across Cheshire and Wirral as well as Trafford, Warrington, Bolton, Halton, Liverpool and Sefton and employs more than 3,400 staff across 65 sites, serving a population of over one million people.

The trust and its people were a finalist in the Mental Health Provider of the Year category at the Health Service Journal Awards in 2019 and is rated as 'Outstanding' for caring by the Care Quality Commission.

The challenge

The biggest challenge for the trust is keeping up with the requirements for GP practices to have access to up-to-date patient information as well as be quickly issued with any new information from the trust.

It also has to send Transfer of Care documentation to GPs via a secure interface within set timescales, in-patient discharge summary letters within a 24-hour period, and outpatient summaries (provided they meet a set criteria) within seven days.

It means sending documents within a required timeframe needn’t be challenging and we can demonstrate to NHS England that we have clear and compliant plans for transfer of care documentation

The previous methods of sharing documents, however, made this difficult to achieve within the mandated timescales.

Historically, the trust would have used email and fax. Most recently, however, it has been using NHSmail, which is a secure email service from NHS Digital for sharing patient identifiable and sensitive information with other NHSmail users.

This has been a step in the right direction, but changes to the NHS Standard Contract requirements specified the use of a structured messaging platform that would provide direct automatic transfer onto the GP practice electronic patient record system, rather than being sent by post, fax or email.

This approach would not only enable the trust to send discharge and summary information within the specified timescales; but wuld provide an audit trail too – therefore complying with the new NHS contract requirements.

The solution

The trust needed a partner at the forefront of delivering a digital messaging platform that empowers it to safely and securely share documents between care settings.

Advanced is an organisation the trust has worked with successfully over a number of years, using its electronic patient record solution, Carenotes, developed to specifically address the needs of mental health services.

Therefore, despite exploring a couple of options, the trust chose to work with Advanced.

In April 2019, the trust went live with Docman Connect, Advanced’s Cloud-based solution for electronically transferring documents and data securely to GPs – all in line with NHS Standard Contract requirements.

It ensures all clinical documents are encrypted when sent, and decrypted when received, to maintain a secure transfer of care process.

Any type of clinical document is acceptable and is able to be delivered in the practice’s preferred format.

What’s more, the trust can track every document’s journey, providing peace of mind that the clinical document is delivered and processed by the intended recipient.

We originally signed up to send 20,000 documents per year, but are already increasing this to around 50,000 per year. As of November 2019, we have around 500 users and counting

Vicky Williams, clinical support systems manager at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Docman Connect helps us meet key national standards that have been set out in our contracts.

“It means sending documents within a required timeframe needn’t be challenging and we can demonstrate to NHS England that we have clear and compliant plans for transfer of care documentation.

“We originally signed up to send 20,000 documents per year, but are already increasing this to around 50,000 per year. As of November 2019, we have around 500 users and counting.

The benefits

The biggest benefit for the trust has been compliance with the NHS Standard Contract requirements.

It now has a single cloud-based system that is secure, reliable and efficient.

Docman Connect’s interface is simple, making it easy to use, and the trust has seen many users just pick it up and run with it.

On the whole, feedback has been positive.

The trust has created a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which clinicians and administrators involved in creating inpatient discharge and outpatient summaries are required to follow to avoid any challenges with the adoption of the technology.

It also has an intranet page with a number of user guides on how to use Docman Connect.

What’s more, Advanced delivered a mandatory training package before going live with the system, which users had to complete.

Advanced has delivered a solution that is proven to meet the demands for delivering Transfer of Care documentation to GP practices which, in turn, helps us to continue to deliver high-quality, person-centred care to our patients

Its IT trainers would conduct the sessions, both face-to-face and online, before providing the log-in details.

And user education is ongoing, encouraging feedback to continually improve over time.

Williams said: “Advanced has delivered a solution that is proven to meet the demands for delivering Transfer of Care documentation to GP practices which, in turn, helps us to continue to deliver high-quality, person-centred care to our patients.

“It gives us everything we need to share discharge and outpatient summaries and, being a standalone solution, we know it will be able to expand as and when we need in the future.”

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