When I explain to someone outside of the health and care sector what it is that the National Record Locator Service does, they look at me with a perplexed expression. The public and our expectation is that the NHS is one organisation and that records are shared for direct care to support the delivery of the right care at the right time. They think National Record Locator Service is already what our electronic records do. It must be, surely?
There is currently no national solution for locating and sharing patient records across health and care systems. Patient information is silo-ed; constrained by geographical and organisational boundaries. Or it was.
Today National Record Locator Service will go live, initially in beta, and this small step will be a giant leap forward in terms of integrating care models. National Record Locator Service is the first connection to the new Health and Social Care Network and is a critical milestone in the journey towards co-ordinated patient-centred care. Fundamental to this success has been the excellent collaboration between the patient record system suppliers, NHS Trusts and NHS Digital.
The National Record Locator Service demonstrates the capability of making patient information securely and remotely accessible to healthcare professionals at the point of need. The first use-case partners ambulance services, shared care record providers, and mental health trusts. My own trust CWP is taking part.
The National Record Locator Service will enable paramedics who are called out to a patient who may be in distress to remotely access that patient’s information to support their direct care. Effectively, paramedics can quickly find out whether the patient has a mental health crisis plan and if so, contact the service responsible for the plan to support the individual in a crisis.
Traditionally the person in crisis would have been transported to A&E. However, this will enable the support or transport of the patient to alternative care settings other than A&E if appropriate.
This improves patient safety and mental health outcomes as well reducing duplicate care costs (within A&E and subsequently with mental health services) and improving staff safety.
The people I have worked with across this development have been incredibly committed to delivering this capability to be realised. Hadleigh Stollar (Programme Manager ) has assembled a fantastic team of individuals who have supported all the trusts involved exceptionally. This has been an 18 month process, and I am truly grateful for mental health crisis support to be the first use case.
You’ll have met Hadleigh on this blog before. Here he is talking about his preparations to take the National Record Locator Service to Expo in September.
The project has gained true momentum and resource and Hadleigh has been supported to put in place a tight-knit National Record Locator Service team who share his determination to deliver this critical national product in time for the November deadline.
This is a great example of collaborative work at its finest. The team comprises project managers, junior project managers, IG leads, clinical leads, engagement managers, and communications representatives and they are involved in every aspect of the project, from technical to engagement and from benefits to information governance.
But the National Record Locator Service project isn’t simply a collaboration amongst NHS Digital staff. The project is very much a co-production with the mental health trusts, shared care record providers, and ambulance services who have road-tested the product. They have provided feedback into the design and usability of the national record locator service.
The beta phase is the first iteration, and through the project we have been supported by NHS England and the Public Records Standards Body (PRSB) to support the next phases of National Record Locator Service to retrieve documents that are supported by clinical standards.
I am a record collector at heart (LPs and vinyl that is), so I hope we cannot only deliver the records to a digital age but also raise the profile of the analogue variety of records through our quest.