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New digital service highlights mental health needs in emergency triage


Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHS Digital has launched a service to help emergency triage personnel discover whether a patient has a mental health crisis plan.

It is the first step in the implementation of the National Record Locator Service (NRLS), which has been developed to enable paramedics, mental health nurses and others to remotely access the patient’s information.

It enables them to access a patient’s records and identify if they need to contact the mental health service responsible for a patient and take them to a more appropriate care setting than A&E, such as somewhere that provides community based care.

NRLS has been launched in beta in a number of organisations: the North-West, North-East, Yorkshire and London Ambulance Services, along with the Cumbria Partnership, Humber, South London and Maudsley, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trusts.

The trusts in Cheshire and Lancashire are connecting the service to the county-wide care records, facilitated through the System C & Graphnet Care Alliance using its CareCentric software in the former and software company Tiani Spirit in the latter.

The link for the NRLS has been developed using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) standard for electronic health records.

Fantastic opportunity

Dr Gareth Thomas, who leads the Integrating Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “The record locator represents a fantastic opportunity for health and social care information to be available at the fingertips of frontline health and care staff, wherever they happen to be.

“The service will integrate information right across the sector and will allow organisations to collaborate more closely. Direct access to records at the point of care delivery will bring huge benefit for patients, frontline teams, and the wider NHS.”

NHS Digital said the scope of the NRLS will evolve over time, but demonstrating the capability through this first use cases is an important step in assisting NHS organisations to develop better integrated care models.

The next phase of development will continue integration with other local health and care record exemplars before a full roll out across the NHS. It will involve developing other use cases in areas such as end of life care, child health, maternity and cancer care.

The System C & Graphnet Care Alliance involves three providers of integrated IT solutions for health and social care: System C Healthcare, Graphnet Health and Liquidlogic.

Image from Alachua County, CC BY 2.0 through flickr


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