Health Information Exchange viewer to go live in social care

What’s changing?Great North Care Record - health and care staff image

Work has been underway for the last few months looking at how we can include local authorities to the regional Health Information Exchange (HIE). The need to connect health and social care has only been made more prominent in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our objective is to connect all local authority adult social care services to the HIE so their staff can both view and share data. Sunderland City Council and Durham County Council are currently the first two councils scheduled to connect, with Sunderland scheduled for September 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put even more emphasis on the need for adult social services to be able to view and share medical information to help the people they care for.

In response, we have begun a project looking at making an HIE viewer available to selected staff within adult social care teams to view a restricted HIE dataset.

Which local authorities are involved?

Newcastle City Council will be the first to be able to view the HIE. This will be for a limited number of staff (who are team managers in adult social care), and the benefits closely monitored. The plan is for Gateshead, Durham and Sunderland local authorities to follow shortly afterwards using the stand-alone web portal HIE viewer. The viewer has been made available to all remaining local authorities who are considering using it.

What data is available in the viewer?

It is a limited dataset from the HIE which includes:

Table showing the data items shared on HIE

What security and controls are in place?

Access to the HIE viewer is through a secure web portal. Access is limited to a small pool of staff at each local authority and will be fully audited.

What steps have been put in place around Information Governance (IG)?

For the purposes of accessing the HIE viewer, social care staff are permitted access under the Control of Patient Information (COPI) notice. This notice which permits information to be shared to support COVID-19 activities is valid until 30 September 2020.

To enable social care staff to continue legally accessing this data beyond September, new Data Sharing Agreements (DSAs) will be issued. These will be in line with those already in place for sharing data with healthcare organisations. Note that these will be issued shortly, along with more communications, and will need to be signed before 30 September 2020 to allow continued use of the HIE by social care.

The IG approach has been developed with and signed off by the local SIGN network who have been closely involved in this work.

What safeguards are in place?

  • This approach has been reviewed by the GP IT Governance Group, SIGN, clinical safety officer, Professional Advisory Group and the HIE Project Board. Before any new data items are added, this would need to be reviewed by these groups again.
  • Sunderland City Council Adult Social Care, for instance fully comply with GDPR and seek consent to gather, use and share information on individuals throughout each referral and event completed.  This is not a one-off process but continues through the lifetime of their involvement with the individual. In addition, Sunderland Council also monitor:
    • Monthly access audits are undertaken across all teams to ensure the reasons for accessing individual customer cases are valid and appropriate.
    • Access to the system is expected to be maintained by the users, if someone does not access the system for over 30 days access is removed and needs to be reinstated.
    • Monthly practitioner audits are undertaken across all teams and this reviews the information gathered, recorded, accuracy, GDPR, capacity and consent throughout the lifetime of the case for each customer.

Any further questions?

Please contact the Great North Care Record team if you have any questions about this project. There is some further information about sharing data with social care, including some use cases in this slide deck.


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