Scottish health board leaps ahead in integrating children’s services

NHS Dumfries and Galloway goes live with NextGate EMPI enterprise integration technology to make major achievement in NHS integration

NHS Dumfries and Galloway has taken a major step in integrating children’s services across health, social care and other public services.

This is as a result of a pioneering project that is moving far beyond anything done before within NHS Scotland to link crucial information on patients from across disparate IT systems used by different organisations.

By exploiting algorithms and probability matching tools in NextGate, we can link records in a way we have never done before

The health board has deployed NextGate’s Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) system, which helps users confidently identify and match records on patients across different organisations.

Representing a major achievement for NHS integration and working towards the Scottish Government’s Getting it right for every child guidelines, the project has now seen the health board and its local authority partner link vital information on children across health and social care. This means clinical staff and social care workers can make more-informed decisions and deliver the best and safest-possible care for children.

For clinicians, the technology reduces the time spent manually searching for the correct patient information, freeing up resource to focus on providing efficient and safe treatment.

Information from a range of other services including child protection, police, education, housing, and other relevant authorities will also soon become integrated through the project.

The system works by presenting a consolidated and comprehensive view of the patient to relevant and authorised professionals through existing technologies and clinical portals.

Graham Gault, general manager of ICT at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We now have a powerful and sophisticated tool to link children from records and datasets that use NHS numbers, social care numbers, police references, education references and any other type of identifier.

“We can now share relevant health information with partner organisations, where appropriate, using proper information governance protocols, so that the best decisions can be made, and the safest and most-effective care delivered for children.

“By exploiting algorithms and probability matching tools in NextGate, we can link records in a way we have never done before. The EMPI software has provided the ability to seamlessly integrate health and social care and other third-party information.”

Using NextGate EMPI probability matching tools, records for individual patients are positively and accurately identified and matched across different organisations, regardless of variations in how the individual is referenced in different applications and datasets. This means that records from many different organisations can now be quickly linked for tens of thousands of patients across the entire Dumfries and Galloway area.

We can now share relevant health information with partner organisations, where appropriate, using proper information governance protocols, so that the best decisions can be made, and the safest and most-effective care delivered for children

Gault said: “This is a pioneering achievement now that we are linking records on a major scale, joining data from systems so that clinical staff and social care workers can view all necessary information that is pertinent and relevant to them delivering effective care.”

Andy Aroditis, chef executive of NextGate, said: “This project represents a major move forward in Scotland for delivering joined-up services. Population health relies on accurate, timely and aggregated information.

“As an organisation we understand that patient outcomes depend upon the accuracy of the identity verification and the quality of data provided by our technology. This project is a very positive step for the area of Dumfries and Galloway as their local teams recognise how data management is essential to the delivery of integrated and co-ordinated care.”

Companies