Information for Health Care Professionals

Clinicians across the region are working together through the Great North Care Record project to deliver better, safer care through improved digital record sharing. The first step in this Great North Care Record initiative is taking place during 2016, with the introduction of the Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) and the Information Sharing Gateway.  For more information on the MIG view a short, informative video here.

This step, with support and Vanguard funding from the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network, can bring the whole region up to a common standard of electronic information-sharing, providing a platform for further development led by the Connected Health Cities initiative.

As a result, information will be available through a secure, encrypted electronic system accessed by family doctors, hospitals, mental health services, out-of-hours doctors and North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) , eliminating a great many time-consuming phone calls, letters and faxes.

The summary information available at the point of care through the MIG – with the patient’s consent – will include details of medical conditions, medication, operations and treatment, tests requested or carried out, and contact details for next of kin or carers.

With easier access to up to date and accurate information, we can all offer safer and more effective care, fewer emergency admissions and shorter hospital stays, as well as reducing the administrative burdens involved with older forms of communication.
Patients will spend less time answering the same questions, and clinicians will waste less time checking details from multiple sources.

Information governance and security

The MIG will be implemented alongside the Information Sharing Gateway, to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place. Clinicians will ask for renewed consent at the start of each period of care. If a patient has opted out, information will not be available for the clinician to view.

This system keeps a record of everyone who has accessed a patient record, the time and date when they accessed it, and the information they were viewing.

Everyone in the region will be included in the Great North Care Record initiative, if a patient is happy to be included, they do not need to take any further action.

We believe that all patients can benefit from better information sharing, but some patients understandably may have concerns about the change. Every patient will be offered the chance to opt out, though we very much hope to reassure people of the benefits and safeguards associated with the system, and minimise opt-outs.

Your local CCG will keep you updated on this process and will ask for your help in writing to the small number of your patients who have previously opted out of record-sharing initiatives. We will provide posters, leaflets and other support to ensure this work is as smooth as possible for you and your patients.

We will be using the Information Sharing Gateway to provide an electronic means of supporting the appropriate Information Governance documentation, including relevant Information Sharing Agreements.

Who is leading this work?

This initiative is supported by CCGs, Trusts, out-of-hours services, NEAS and GP practices across the region. Connected Health Cities, a project hosted by the Academic Health Science Network at Newcastle University, is playing a leading role in driving the work forward over the coming years.

It is very much a regional initiative, rather than a national project like the previous Summary Care Record and care.data schemes.

Significant progress has already been made towards data-sharing in parts of the region, such as Cumbria, Northumbria and North Tyneside, and we will learn from their good practice and build on the work already completed in those areas.

For the MIG rollout, that will include using consistent promotional materials and a helpline which patients can call to find out more or to opt out if they wish.

To find out more or discuss the Great North Care Record, please contact us at gncarerecord@nhs.net.