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New digital tool provides data on children’s healthcare


Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHS Digital and NHS England have launched a new digital service to provide parents and healthcare professionals with information on children’s healthcare treatment.

It is part of the National Events Management Service – which uses the NHS Spine for the publication and distribution of patient event messages – can be used to support decision making on care and treatment and to populate personal child health records, sometimes known as digital red books.

It can show which preventative interventions a child has received as part of improving the speed of diagnosis and treatment, and enables near real time messaging on sending birth notifications, change of address and change of GP practice details. Data is also forwarded to a digital red book offered to mothers.

The service has initially been launched in North East London in partnership with North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) and their health visiting and child health services.

The IT system suppliers supporting the trust – System C (CarePlus), Servelec (Rio) and Sitekit (eRedbook) – have all collaborated with NHS Digital to connect their systems to the new service.

Different systems

Martin Dennys, programme manager for digital child health at NHS Digital, said: “Child health information is currently held across a number of different information systems across the UK.

“The National Events Management Service supports the communication between these systems and is an important milestone in the journey to deliver more personalised, responsive and integrated services to families and children.

“We now look forward to supporting suppliers in rolling the service out more widely.”

The implementation has been made possible partly by information standards for the Healthy Child Programme. These were released by the Professional Records Standards Body last year and have helped to provide the necessary interoperability between systems.

Commenting on the first week's live running, David Pike, programme manager at NELFT, said: “The results so far have been very encouraging. Within the first couple of days we achieved a 20% increase in the timeliness of new birth notifications from out of area maternity units, enabling our health visitors to see new families sooner.

“We also received 2,000 address changes on the first day, which means we're picking up children new to NELFT services much quicker, ensuring those children moving out of area are rapidly notified to their new service provider. Based on these early improvements, we expect to be targeting health resources much more accurately in the coming year.”

NHS Digital said the scope of the National Events Management Service will evolve over time, working in conjunction with other local and national services, to support the whole of the Healthy Child Programme pathway.

Image by Marco Verch, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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