Shared record gives ‘complete picture’ of vulnerable children in Scotland

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A new electronic record-sharing project in Scotland could help stop 'at risk' children falling through the care net.

More than 250 professionals across 10 Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services teams (CAMHS) in the Greater Glasgow area are now providing 'joined up' psychiatric care to more than 5,000 children and teenagers in a ground-breaking scheme. 

They are using a bespoke version of EMIS Web, the transformational clinical system from EMIS, which enables them to securely share vital patient information within a single electronic record.

CAMHS teams across Greater Glasgow and Clyde now have a shared view of each other’s concerns and are able to contribute to a multidisciplinary chronology of 'significant events' for children in their care. It will help speed up decision-making, especially around child protection interventions.

Everyone involved in a child’s therapy – from psychologists and psychiatrists to nurse therapists and speech and language therapists – can now view and add information to the same record, building up a complete picture of care. Previously, staff relied on their colleagues sharing information from paper health records held in 'silos' by different teams.

The CAMHS implementation is the first stage of what is believed to be the biggest example of connectivity via a single shared child health record in the UK, with more than 2,000 staff set to securely share information on 240, 000 children aged 0-18 in the next two years, across a range of community children’s services.

Programme Lead Karen McFadden at Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board said: “We believe EMIS Web will help us to identify and protect vulnerable children through improved information sharing across professionals. Access to the shared record will heighten awareness of cancelled appointments and non-attendance across services, and contribute to the overall picture and assessment of risk.

“Where we suspect a child protection issue, we can call up information from the single shared record, hugely speeding up our response. The single shared record will also improve the range of information available for child protection investigations by social services staff.”

After just six months, she said EMIS Web was “undoubtedly saving clinical and administrative time and enabling us to give young patients mental health treatment more quickly. Only last week a clinician was able to create a referral letter electronically in a matter of minutes, that would previously have taken several weeks to create manually.”

She added: “EMIS Web has supported the redesign of our CAMHS and administrative services. Each stage of the process is now fully electronic, from referral to first appointment and through to data reporting. It enables us to efficiently report on referral to treatment targets nationally, as well as giving us an instant picture of our performance.”

The project was enabled by bespoke software development work from EMIS, which recently launched a Community Child and Mental Health (CCMH) division to provide new solutions for healthcare professionals in these fields.  Development work included integrating the Scottish Care Information Master Patient Index with EMIS Web – ensuring that patient information, including contact details, is up to date.

Martin Bell, Director of EMIS’s new CCMH division, said: “This is an exciting project in a new field for EMIS.  We are delighted that our software is helping frontline clinicians to better protect vulnerable children." 

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