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Lincolnshire to integrate health and social care data



County care teams to make use of Intersystems platform for sharing information between different agencies

A digital records system is being installed in health and social care agencies in Lincolnshire to support the integration of care in the county.

It comes from a partnership between the Lincolnshire Health and Care (LHAC) programme and Intersystems, with the health information technology specialist providing its Healthshare platform for data sharing between organisations.

Gary James (pictured), chair of the programme's information management and technology sub-group, told UKAuthority that the first phase of the deployment will involve eight systems and should be complete by June. The second phase is expected to involve a similar number and run up September or October.

Technology response

He said the move is part of the response to one of the technology requirements to come from the efforts of the county's healthcare trusts and clinical commissioning groups to meet the demands of the NHS Five Year Forward View, particularly in increasing integration with social care and more place based working.

Its NHS organisations have various levels of computerisation and a range of systems, which it is pulling together through a portal that will assemble existing records together rather than create a new one.

“The evidence from around the world is that when you do that clinicians make better decisions and the costs are driven down,” he said. “The strategic work has already started with all the commissioners in health and social care working on it together.

“In terms of smooth working we specified there had to be a two-second response to get the first view, and while there is a default for the look and feel of the portal it is quite configurable. For example, A&E departments might want information such as a patient's allergies, medications and recent medical history on screen quickly, while mental health teams would want something different.”

Interoperability and identifiers

He said the system pulls in data that conforms to HL7 interoperability standards and does not create the relevant record until it is asked to do so. It uses the NHS number, with the NHS Tracing Service and two index servers, as the default key to identifying an individual. While social care teams are using different identifiers, there is an expectation that they will move towards using the NHS number.

Clinicians and care staff can access information through role based authentication controls with the person's consent, although clinicians with sufficient authority can invoke a 'break glass' mechanism to override this in an emergency.

The system will also provide a patient portal for viewing personal health information from different care providers.

“This will improve the quality and safety of care and will also save staff time by providing fingertip access to the information they need to manage that patient's care,” James said.

The contract with Intersystems is set to run for five years on a population based licensing model expected to be costed at about £1 million per year, but with potential annual savings of up to £4 million.

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