The Great North Care Record (GNCR) is a collaboration between the £20million Government funded Connected Health Cities programme and local NHS providers covering the North East and North Cumbria.
It has been traditionally difficult for health and care organisations to share information electronically.
The first phase of the GNCR means that services such as emergency departments, out of hours, 111, ambulance and mental health can now access a read-only view of the information GPs record about their patients.
The team behind it is looking to extend this information sharing so that GPs can see inside hospital systems and hospital systems can ‘talk to one another’.
Currently, the GNCR is viewed about 85,000 times per month across the region.
Dr Richard Glennie, who works at Greystoke Surgery in the Morpeth NHS Centre, is leading the clinical informatics group for the initiative in the Northumbria Healthcare area along with North Tyneside GP Dr Mark Westwood.
“The issues we’ve had with sharing data in the NHS means it’s very frustrating for patients who have to repeat the same medical information to different people,” said Dr Glennie.
“I have been involved since 2015 and it’s great that all GPs in the region have signed up to share patient data through a secure gateway system.
“Although it hasn’t been all straightforward, we didn’t have the resistance we expected – the general public have been broadly supportive of our work.
“We’ve made it clear that the public are in control over who they share their information with and they can opt-out if they wish, although we believe it’s beneficial to them if they decide to opt-in when the need arises to ask them about the GNCR as health services having all the relevant data will improve the treatment they receive.
“If they approve, this also means that information can be shared with health and care planners to improve services and with researchers to improve treatments and understanding of illnesses.
“The read-only view of GP records is integrated into the hospital or other health provider’s IT system so they can all access the information and once the page has closed, the data is no longer there, which is the most secure and effective way.
“Details are also included in the GNCR about who has accessed the patient data, so monitoring can take place.
“It’s all about providing the right information for the right person at the right time.”
An online study conducted by YouGov earlier this year involved more than 800 people living the North East and North Cumbria.
After reading about the GNCR, 94 per cent of people surveyed said they would allow their medical information to be shared within the NHS, 75 per cent with social care providers and 53 per cent of people said they would share their identifiable data on a secure database with approved researchers, although 86 per cent said it is important to be able to control their own GNCR privacy settings.
For more information, go to www.greatnorthcarerecord.org.uk