Public Services > Healthcare

Integrated Dorset Care Record targets initial autumn launch

Neil Merrett Published 25 May 2017

Phased introduction of regional solution to bring together patient information from GPs, hospitals and social care providers will later consider broader number of hospitals and functions


The Dorset Care Record (DCR), a regional solution that will bring together information on a specific individual from GP surgeries, hospitals, and local councils to support more integrated direct care, is expected to go live in the autumn with a view to wider support from other trusts.

The solution is set to be introduced in a phased manner that will initially be in a read-only format to provide basic information from GP, acute hospital and community care systems under a five year contract with Orion Health to help better integrate communication between different care organisations in the region.

As the care record advances, it is intended to then provide information on diagnoses, prescribed drugs, blood tests, pathology and X-ray results along with details on agreed preferences for care providers, as well as details of next of kin.

DCR will follow similar regional initiatives including the Hampshire Health Record and Connecting Care programme in Bristol.

Dorset County Council is working on the project with a number of organisations including NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (DCCG), Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole.

However, the authority said it does have intentions to expand functionality going forward to include local authority and NHS systems in Dorset, as well as working with hospitals in Salisbury, Yeovil and Southampton to add information to the record where residents may receive treatment there.

The five year contract supporting the care record, which is valued at £7.8m, is partly funded through the NHS England Integrated Digital Care Fund, with additional funds provided by partner organisations.  According to the council, the overall cost commitments are linked to the number of licences needed by individual partners.

“Some partners are clearly larger than others. We have estimated approximately 7,000 licences for the Dorset Care Record spread across partners but we can increase the number as required,” said the authority.

Among considerations in implementing the care record technology and the implications for privacy, Dorset County Council said any prospective partners were required to sign up to the Data Information Sharing Charter (DISC). The authority said the charter was intended to provide a robust foundation for agencies to lawfully share personal information confidentially with partner organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

“While the DISC provides the foundation for safe and secure information sharing in a multi-agency environment for the DCR, it will be necessary to ensure Personal Information Sharing Agreements (PISA) are in place to support the specific details of data shared with partners using the system,” said the authority.

“GPs and other partner organisations using source systems are all data controllers and have legal responsibilities under the Data Protection Act.  As the DCR will be sharing information from these source systems there will need to be signed PISAs in place between the partnership and each data controller.”

Beyond the technical challenges of information sharing, stakeholders have also played up the need for clear consent models that have led to difficulties for broader national information sharing projects like the defunct programme.

In order to better build patient understanding, partner bodies have also set up a communications and stakeholder engagement group to advise on raising awareness of the care record and privacy implications.

In a statement, the council said that the care record was a key part of aims to better integrate health and social care as part of a wider strategy to implement regional sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) for care in England.

“The DCR represents real investment in the future health of Dorset’s residents. This innovative approach to enable closer working between professionals across health and social care is a key element of our wider sustainability and transformation plan to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities,” said the authority in a statement.

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