Patient Engagement Platform update 30 July 2020

The  Great North Care Record aims to improve the health and care experience for the 3.6 million people who live in the North East and North Cumbria. The Patient Engagement Platform (PEP) is one of three projects making up the Great North Care Record Programme.

We have exciting ambitions for the future of digital healthcare across our region, enabling service improvement, huge cost savings and patient engagement. The first phase will allow patients to view and organise appointments; and to receive, view and print their medical and care correspondence.

The system we develop may reach far beyond the North East and North Cumbria. We are pleased to be working in collaboration with the NHS Digital/NHS App team to begin an exciting integration to support the national vision of connected healthcare across the country to enable a single point of access for all NHS services to patients.

We will be one of the first regions in the country able to communicate with our patients in this way.

Following the project launch on 30 April 2020, we have pulled together this summary of the questions that participants raised. We thought it may be helpful to share these more widely as we roll out the implementation of the PEP. You can also watch this clip from the launch which covers what we are setting out to do in the project.

What is the expected release date for the Patient Engagement Platform?

The anticipated release date for the first phase of PEP is Autumn 2020.

What are you willing to include in appointments / correspondence? Include all, or only certain sources?

NHS App already includes GP appointments. Great North Care Record data will be held separately and any organisation that would like to contribute such data as appointments or correspondence can do so. The aim for PEP Core is to hold the capability to handle messages from any organisation, in an approach that we aim to be standardised across the region as much as possible.

Will an organisation contributing to PEP require an integration engine?

We expect an integration engine is required in order to send and receive messages from PEP Core. Investigation into whether a specific message type from organisations can be accepted by PEP Core would be required. This would be covered in discovery sessions. For those organisations that do not have an integration engine, MIRTH (now known as NextGen), has been made open source and can therefore be blueprinted by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NUTH).

How do we decide what messages will be put into the correspondence view in PEP?

It is important to note that we do not intend to publish everything to a patient. If in the current process the patient would receive a paper copy, we intend that PEP would be the delivery method where possible.

If a patient does not view correspondence, will PEP handle this accordingly?

We expect that PEP Core will monitor and communicate back patient activity to an organisation. There will be controls in place where further prompts to the patient will be given, such as a phone notification from the App. We are then to determine a fallback method, that could be any combination of a text message, email, or ultimately, sending a paper copy.

What will be the accepted file format(s) for correspondence and what level of metadata is required?

We expect that PEP Core will accept correspondence in several file formats. Newcastle has a robust conversion tool which will allow us to take many other file formats. We anticipate that the metadata provided will need to include information on where this message originated from, a specialty (from the NHS definitions of specialties), along with the date of creation and other information yet to be defined.
What considerations have been made for the sign-up process? Would an organisation receive notification of a patient sign-up, and view those not signed up?
PEP Core will receive notification when patient has registered and maintain a list of all patients that accept sharing with the Great North Care Record. Organisations must then manage the sending of messages to PEP Core only where a patient has registered. There is additional conversation to be had around positive notifications that may translate into meaningful processes for organisations, such as confirmation of an appointment.

Is the integration with NHS App still at a concept stage?

NHS App integration has been confirmed and will be the gateway for patients into PEP. This is being developed in line with the NHS England digital strategy for a single point of access to digital patient healthcare systems. We will follow on from the functionality already present for appointments, however, we also plan to build upon that functionality in future phases and expose this to patients through the application.

How will the overlap of Trust services display data back to patients?

We plan to work towards having all organisations enabled across the region at the same time as best possible, ensuring commonality in both information and the way we provide data to patients in order to limit patient confusion.

The example provided was for a patient that has been provided a service from Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) but are registered with NUTH.

What work has been done to map what organisations currently do for sending correspondence and SMS?

This will be further identified by the project Business Analyst, Ian Campbell, when defining baseline benefit measurements with organisations to understand current processes. We are keen to understand the current and future state of workflows when PEP is implemented later this year. The information we currently hold will be built upon over the coming weeks and months.

Will the Patient Engagement Platform allow for two-way communication?

We expect the introduction of two-way communication from the patient to organisation is included in future phases and is very much on our radar. We currently plan to hook into existing processes with Trusts to ensure that the two-way communication is maintained before this can be embedded into PEP.

How do we define ground rules for what PEP provides, and what organisations do?

We plan to ensure PEP Core delivers the appropriate capabilities for handling messages from organisations in a specified format. We expect that the organisations take responsibility for making full use of the capabilities provided by PEP Core.

How do we maintain attachments and assets that are provided to patients for correspondence or appointments from a Trust? This is one of the hardest technical challenges.

The project and technical team have had ideas about how this could work. End-user training will play a large role in understanding how this functionality works. We expect that the responsibility will be with each organisation to provide and maintain assets, however, operation ideas are required to support the technical discussion.

Any further questions?

If you have any further questions please join our weekly Wednesday status report and Q&A session from 2pm or post them in Discourse.

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