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New Care Record sharing system to improve health and care launched in Dorset

People in Dorset can look forward to improved health and care following the decision to go ahead with a new electronic record sharing solution. 

The Dorset Care Record (DCR) will bring together information from hospitals, GPs, community teams and local councils, enabling details of a person’s medical or care history – and their needs – to be summarised in the same place.

It will improve co-ordination and communication between different agencies, improving treatments and reducing delays, and meaning people will have to tell their story only once. 

Part of the £7.8m five year contract has come from the NHS England Integrated Digital Care Fund with additional funding coming from partner organisations. Health and social care organisations have been calling for the establishment of an electronic record for a number of years and there is national guidance that states the NHS should have electronic records by 2020.

The DCR, provided by global healthcare company Orion Health and led by Dorset County Council, will be delivered through a secure computer network. There will be an ‘opt out’ function for patients who do not wish to be included. It will be rolled out from this autumn with the first phase including basic information from GP, acute hospital and community systems covering admission and discharge dates, appointments and alerts.

It is supported by the health and social care organisation across the county; NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (DCCG), Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Dorset HealthCare, plus Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole.

The DCR will bring together a range of patient/client information, including:

  • health problems and diagnoses
  • prescribed drugs
  • blood tests, pathology and X-ray results
  • next of kin, carer and care provider
  • hospital discharge letters
  • care plans agreed between people and professionals

Dr Ben Chennell, a Weymouth GP and chair of the Dorset Care Record project board said: “Local NHS and council social care services have a range of different computer systems holding health and care records which at present are not well connected, can be incomplete or lead to duplication. The DCR will create a combined record, allowing professionals to provide a much more seamless delivery of care.

“Orion Health is an innovative and forward looking company, with successful shared records elsewhere in Britain, and across the globe. We are really excited to be getting underway with them to benefit the people of Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

Dorset County Council’s Chief Executive Debbie Ward and Phil Richardson, director of Design and Transformation at NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and DCR Senior Responsible Officer, say the DCR will deliver a better joined up service.

Phil said: “Sharing appropriate information electronically to a single place will offer direct access for authorised health and social care professionals to provide as full a picture as possible of people’s history, needs, support and service contacts.

Debbie added: “The DCR represents a really exciting approach to digital engagement with people across the county and is a key element of our wider Sustainability and Transformation Plan to improve the treatment of people’s health and reduce inequalities. It will make more efficient use of public money and in time, the DCR will offer people access to view and contribute to their own record.”

Colin Henderson, VP EMEA, Orion Health, commented “The Dorset Care Record project, through successful collaboration across different organisations and underpinned by our technology, will radically change the way health and social care services are delivered in Dorset.

“Our experience has shown that engagement from an early stage is key to the successful implementation and uptake of technology and the Partnership has ensured that a wide range of clinicians and social care practitioners were involved in the rigorous procurement process. We are now looking forward to working closely with the various stakeholders in Dorset, to develop the data flows and views that support health and care integration, leading to more informed decision making and better outcomes for patients and service users.”

There is also a long-term plan to extend the system to share data with other health and care organisations which meet our information sharing security criteria, such as hospices and neighbouring NHS facilities that people in Dorset use.

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