Patients in Shetland and Orkney benefit From information sharing system

InterSystems' TrakCare at heart of improvements in quality of patient care

NHS Grampian is harnessing the power of InterSystems TrakCare, a unified healthcare information system, to improve health outcomes for the 45,000 people who live in Shetland and Orkney.

Hosted by NHS Grampian, but available to clinicians across the region, the seamless exchange of patient data will support quicker decision-making and enable more-flexible ways of working that will benefit patients through better diagnosis, treatment and care.

The collaboration made possible with TrakCare will be especially helpful to patients requiring complex care involving a number of clinical specialties, including those with cancer.

Where previously multi-disciplinary cancer teams from the islands and the mainland had to meet in person to share patient information, TrakCare now allows clinicians to securely access information from a variety of sources through one shared system, enabling them to create virtual teams. Test results can safely be shared electronically, and the team can work together to create a personalised care plan for the patient quickly and efficiently.

And, where in the past clinicians regularly had to fly between locations on the mainland and the islands carrying medical documents, using TrakCare they can now share patient information more efficiently among local consultants in Shetland and Orkney as well as visiting clinicians and emergency staff who provide services to islanders on the mainland.

By swiftly gaining access to patient information, clinicians have a better understanding of patient needs and can provide a more-joined-up service for the entire population.

This is helping to transform the way patient information is shared across the region, as Dr Steve Baguley, clinical director of eHealth at NHS Grampian, explained. He added: “The driving force for this is improving the quality of treatment that patients receive. TrackCare makes it much easier for clinicians working between the boards to get a more complete view of the patients they are treating. Having access to up-to-date, comprehensive information means they can take the best decisions. The system will benefit every patient who makes Shetland and Orkney their home.”

The TrakCare system for Shetland and Orkney is an extension of NHS Grampian’s existing implementation. Data will be hosted on the mainland, but made available on demand to clinicians across the whole region. The ability to share documentation across teams is also helping NHS Orkney, NHS Shetland and NHS Grampian embrace new ways of working, including teleconferencing, video conferencing, and even conducting video assessments. As well as increasing collaboration, the system will help reduce bureaucracy, with all patient documentation updated in real time and shared across the whole health community.

In addition to improving the quality of care, the system is also expected to help the NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland health boards save money, as fewer patients need to make expensive trips to the mainland for consultations and treatment.

The extension of NHS Grampian’s existing TrakCare system to support the islands is also expected to streamline services and simplify the reporting processes, helping the boards to stay compliant with national NHS Scotland reporting requirements. The collaborative approach to implementation also delivered financial savings for Shetland and Orkney.

The close partnership among the three boards’ eHealth departments ensured the data migration and staff training matched the needs of the health boards. Care teams from the islands came to Grampian to get experience of the system prior to go-live. TrakCare was already used by some Grampian consultants who work in the islands, which made the staff training easier.

The implementation of TrakCare is an ongoing process, with the three boards now working together to develop an electronic patient record that meets their respective needs.

Alison Hawkins, eHealth Lead at NHS Grampian, said: “The implementation of the national patient management system is in keeping with our vision - to offer everyone in Grampian, Orkney and Shetland access to an NHS that helps them to keep well and provides them with high-quality care when it is needed, while employing a skilled and committed local workforce who are proud to work for the NHS. We plan to continue to work with both boards to ensure that all our systems are flexible enough to meet current and future needs.”

Mark Palmer, country manager at InterSystems UK, added: “The goal of TrakCare is to enable co-ordinated care within a hospital, across care settings, and throughout a region, so that patients experience a seamless journey and receive the best care possible.

"NHS Grampian’s extension of TrakCare to these two additional boards in Scotland demonstrates the value that TrakCare brings. We’re pleased that TrakCare is now used in 90% of the Scottish NHS boards, and we hope that there will continue to be collaboration on a national level to ensure the continuity of care for every patient in Scotland.”

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