Dorset unveils integrated care record plan

County council takes lead in bringing together information for health and social care

A group of local authorities and NHS organisations in Dorset have announced plans for a new digital records system to summarise information on health and social care.

The Dorset Care Record (DCR) has been developed by healthcare company Orion Health in a project led by Dorset County Council, with the first phase of the implementation set for October of this year and further iterations every four to six months.

Two other local authorities are involved in the project – Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole – along with a handful of healthcare organisations: NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (DCCG), Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Dorset Healthcare.

The DCR will be provided under a £7.8 million, five-year contract that has been partially funded by the partners and the NHS England Integrated Digital Care Fund.

Information included in the record will take in: health problems and diagnoses; prescribed drugs; blood test, pathology and x-ray results; details of next of kin, carer or care provider; hospital discharge letters; and individual care plans.

Opt-out

It includes an opt-out function for people who do not wish their data to be included.

Debbie WardDorset County Council’s chief executive Debbie Ward (pictured) said: "The DCR represents a really exciting approach to digital engagement with people across the county and is a key element of our wider Sustainability and Transformation Plan to improve the treatment of people's health and reduce inequalities.

“It will make more efficient use of public money and in time the DCR will offer people access to view and contribute to their own record."

A spokesperson for the county council said it anticipates that the first phase for using the record – which will provide basic information on admission and discharge dates, appointments and alerts – will only involve a few hundred health and social care workers having access, but that the number should gradually increase to about 7,200.

He said the expected benefits for the local authorities involved would be to save time in referrals, provide efficiencies in safeguarding investigations by improving appropriate access to data, which should result in fewer incidents, and reduce the number of complaints. The improved information sharing should also reduce the number of preventable deaths and provide patients with a better care experience.

Practitioners in procurement

Ben Chennell, a local GP and chair of the DCR board, said: “Given the importance and complexity of the project, we put emphasis on involving all key stakeholders, specifically ensuring the procurement was led by clinicians and social care practitioners.

“The technology procured for this project will enable service transformation across the county, so it was critical to facilitate collaboration between IT and clinicians.”

The DCR has been linked to the Dorset Information Sharing Charter, which provides local public service agencies with a foundation for lawful and secure sharing of personal information.

Image from Dorset County Council