What did the MIG ever do for us?

Any excuse to get a Monty Python reference in – but we are at an important point in our history. So, what did access to the Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) ever do for us?

Well the short answer is – an awful lot.

MIG has provided access to GP records in other clinical settings for around 4 years – even longer in some parts of the region. It gave emergency departments, out of hours, mental health teams the first glimpse of what integrated care could look like. It provided a fully integrated view into their clinical system of ten data items from the GP record.

Over the last year it’s been accessed over 1.6million times across the North East and North Cumbria.

Imagine all those 1.6million times, phone calls and faxes to GPs didn’t happen, because the frontline staff treating those patients had access to the information they needed.

We have a great set of videos from staff working in Northumbria emergency department who make the case for how accessing GP records improves patient care.

As a programme we learnt a great deal from the implementation of MIG. Start small, grow it organically, show the clinical benefits early on – rather than a top down approach. It took time for the whole region to sign up to sharing GP records and there were parts of the region where that was easier or more challenging.

What the MIG sharing did was create trust between within the sector – and trust is vital in the information sharing game.

We used the Information Sharing Gateway to digitise information sharing agreements. Shout out to our colleagues in Cumbria who developed it. It allowed us to do the Information Governance around this at pace and scale with over 400 GP practices to approve the data sharing agreements. Whilst this did take time to do across the region. What we have found since with the adoption of new agreements which replaced the MIG ones – is that we have shortened that timeline that takes down from years to weeks.

It’s taken many years of graft and boots on the ground going out and listening to colleagues around the region to get to where we are today, and that’s a job that continues today (albeit virtually)!

We went live with GP record sharing on the Health Information Exchange (HIE) all the way back in early March. This feels like a lifetime ago due to the pandemic. But it was because of the pandemic we extended the MIG contract beyond the end of March. This was to give space to develop the HIE product.

Since that HIE go live we have moved beyond sharing GP records and added our first two acute trusts, a mental health trust and ambulance service, plus community records from a number of organisations. Whilst change is always scary– the time is right to continue onto the next level of integrated care records with the Great North Care Record HIE.

In just a few months’ time we will have connected all our acute, mental health and ambulance trusts, and the first local authority adult social care systems to the HIE. This will revolutionise the way care is delivered in our region. And we could not have done it, without the networks, the contacts and the relationships we have developed, founded on the MIG.

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