The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria funds a regional Health Information Exchange for the next two years

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria, working with its partners at Connected Health Cities, have agreed to fund a regional Health Information Exchange (HIE) for the next two years.

The investment, worth £800K over the next two years, provides a more certain future for the Great North Care Record, which shares a view of the GP record directly into clinical systems in emergency departments, out of hours services, mental health services, and the ambulance service. 100% of GP practices across the North East and North Cumbria now share information electronically, with the patient’s permission.

Funding for the current programme with Connected Health Cities ends in September 2019, and until then, prototyping work will be ongoing to explore how to develop the Great North Care Record.

The vision for the Great North Care Record has been to allow the two-way exchange of information between health and social care providers – creating a truly integrated care record. The technology which would allow this is a Health Information Exchange, which is effectively a piece of middleware that allows different IT systems to talk to one another.

A regional HIE would store the public’s information sharing preferences and would provide the functionality for the public to view all the medical information held about themselves across the health and social care system.

Nicola Wesley, Chief Operating Officer at the Academic Health Science Network said: “We are delighted to fund the HIE. This will give the Great North Care Record the security it needs for the next two years. We are providing this funding to get the next iteration of the Great North Care Record off the ground. It will be a huge challenge to implement a project on this scale and in the timescales we have set.

“We are confident that, with the vision, skills, knowledge and the networks which have been put in place since the Great North Care Record began, we can provide a functional infrastructure which allows the sharing of clinical data at scale across the region.

“Our Board has set the current Connected Health Cities team a challenge to develop a plan to implement this HIE.”

Professor Joe McDonald, Director at Connected Health Cities, comments: “The vision for the region has always been to create a truly integrated care record, where clinicians and the public can access up to date information from different sources.

“We have achieved so much in the last two years, and the next two years look set to be even more challenging. We have designed a tool which allows the public to set their own data sharing preferences. We have conducted lots of research and facilitated focus groups to understand how people want to control the information which the NHS and local authorities have about them.

“We will be working with our partners across health, social care, the voluntary sector, universities and suppliers over the coming weeks to prepare to procure this service and roll it out across the region.”