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Rennie Grove Hospice Care

Rennie Grove Hospice Care is a charity providing care and support for adults and children diagnosed with cancer and other life-limiting illness and their families.

Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s mission is to provide excellent and efficient palliative and end of life care to people in Buckinghamshire and West Hertfordshire. The charity provides a range of services including Hospice at Home. This service gives patients 24/7 access to planned and responsive care from nurses and healthcare assistants in the comfort of their own homes. 

87% of the charity’s running costs are provided by public fundraising and support, showing how important their work is to many people. 

In the charity's own words:

“For those living with life-limiting illnesses, every day counts. For some, those days have more value when spent in their own comfortable surroundings with the people they love.”

Health and social care collaboration

Like many care organisations, Rennie Grove relies on access to healthcare data to provide an efficient and safe service to patients. Accessing this information using their previous N3 network architecture was quite difficult. Whilst N3 was successful in increasing interoperability between healthcare organisations across the country, it was limited in how it integrated with social care organisations. 

Before moving to Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), Rennie Grove’s clinical staff accessed N3 via a virtual private network (VPN), which enabled them to access clinical data on only four machines via RSA SecurID tokens. For Rennie Grove, the difficulty accessing healthcare data led to two major issues when delivering care:

  1. Partially completed paper referrals  often meant staff had to send letters to GPs and other healthcare professionals to obtain NHS numbers, demographic details and diagnosis information. This was not only a time-consuming exercise for staff, but delayed access to information vital to delivering care 
  2. Access to N3 via just four machines and RSA tokens meant N3 usage was limited and access was inconsistent.  Staff reported that they found this “costly and fiddly,” and requiring a tedious log in process, leading to dissatisfaction  with the N3 service.

One of the aims of HSCN, the successor to N3, was to improve information sharing and access to national and local health applications for care providers like Rennie Grove. HSCN provides reliable, flexible and efficient information sharing between health and social care stakeholders to ensure the continuity of care. 

The transition

With its mission of providing the community with excellent specialist palliative care in mind, Rennie Grove decided to use the transition from N3 to HSCN both to increase bandwidth and to provide more staff with access to the network.

After evaluating the services and pricing offered by a number of HSCN-compliant network providers Rennie Grove chose Convergence Group  as their HSCN supplier. The charity felt that the support provided by Convergence Group and NHS Digital, was both efficient and effective. 

Rennie Grove also found that the HSCN Connection Agreement clearly defined the responsibilities of the organisation and was significantly easier to complete than the previous N3 Information Governance Statement of Compliance.

How HSCN solved the problem

HSCN offers access to rich sources of information

The migration to HSCN provided better access to the clinical information they have been approved to use, which often requires access to large and detailed databases.  

The new HSCN connection has the capacity to support all 84 laptops used by the Rennie Grove nurses and clinicians. This offers greater access to information, greater efficiency and more flexibility in the care and services they provide.

As more staff begin to access activity data posted by other healthcare professionals, the benefits to patients and the service will be huge. For example nurses now have better access to patients’ records within SystmOne in Hertfordshire and Summary Care Record in Buckinghamshire. 

Rennie Grove are looking to expand the information to which it currently has access. In the future they hope to be able to see patients’ blood and x-ray test results, recent hospital visits and more, thus creating a more complete picture of each patient’s end-of-life care.

Hospice at Home is better than ever

Another benefit staff anticipate is reduced time spent attempting to access data from within patients’ homes. With HSCN, clinical staff will have access to up-to-date, electronic patient information remotely, making calls to admin staff to request information and holding paper-based patient information things of the past. Admin staff will be free to carry out more meaningful tasks and clinical staff can spend more time focusing on the patients and their families.

The benefits of HSCN

Nurses and healthcare assistants will be equipped with summaries of the support provided for their patients by other healthcare professionals. This provides a holistic view of their care, improving patient safety and informing nurses’ decision making. 

From the patient’s perspective, the care received from Hospice at Home nurses, the hospital, GP and other NHS services should be integrated and continuous. It should match their expectations of a seamless service unaffected by organisational silos. Patients also expect that any clinical professional, regardless of the context, will have sufficient information to make decisions about their care, resulting in the best possible outcomes.  

Patients also expect the health and social care system to be responsible and cautious with their clinical data. Securing access to NHS data requires following a strict process which needs to be carefully navigated but, once granted, an HSCN connection provides reassurance to all parties that the appropriate technical requirements are in place 

As previously mentioned, Rennie Grove is primarily funded by local voluntary donations and it is therefore important that all expenditure is of value to patients. Rennie Grove has migrated from an N3 VPN solution to a HSCN solution that provides connectivity across all the clinical teams within the organisation. This has helped them save money that can instead be used to fund more patient care.

Lastly, clinical staff will benefit from a more efficient network, with easy access to vital information, enabling them to devote more of their time to providing the community with excellent specialist palliative and end of life care.

Last edited: 8 April 2019 10:19 am