Making GP patient data available to hospital clinicians via the Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) is helping to save time and transform care for almost 330,000 people in the Blackpool area, in Lancashire, UK.
The MIG, from Healthcare Gateway, is giving Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s pharmacists, doctors and nurses real-time access to 300,000 patient records from 40 GP practices across the region.
Often patients admitted to hospital are unable to recall details from their medical history. The MIG helps to plug the gaps with important primary care information such patient demographics, diagnosis, prescriptions, risk and warnings, presented as an integrated view within the host application.
Craig Tilley, Lead Pharmacist, Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration said: “Before the MIG, we had numerous challenges in accessing patient data, especially out of hours or at weekends. Within the first couple of months after going live, we were having around a thousand hits a month on the MIG. So, if you imagine a thousand phone calls to the GP, each taking around five minutes, that’s five thousand minutes back per month. The number of hours we’re saving for pharmacies, doctors and nurses is just huge.”
At the start, only a small area of the hospital had access to the MIG. But the benefits rapidly became obvious – and the MIG was rolled out across the Trust within six months.
Rather than sitting on the phone waiting to speak to GPs, hospital clinicians can now get on with their job, seeing more patients, and spending more time with them. Having real-time data at their fingertips is particularly valuable for staff working out-of-hours, for example, in finding the reason for anti-coagulant prescribing and thus identifying target International Normalised Ratio (INR). In an emergency, knowing a patient is taking anti-coagulants can be lifesaving.
“The MIG has been invaluable to me, especially at the weekend when GPs’ surgeries and pharmacies are closed,” said Alison Wareing, Medicines Management Technician. “When I’ve spoken to the patient, I can look on the MIG and double check everything to make sure it all tallies up. Now we can access patient information twenty-four hours a day when they first get admitted to hospital.”
The MIG also helps to make informed treatment decisions faster, reducing mistakes when patients’ medical histories are unknown. That helps prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and duplicated tests.
“It’s really helped the pharmacy to provide a proper seven-day service and see patients clinically. Through that, we’re able to prevent more serious errors happening.” said Hannah Sheridan, Specialist Pharmacist, Medicine.
Once the MIG is in place at a trust, this versatile software solution can quickly extend its reach to many other systems to allow access to even more patient data. Blackpool Teaching Hospitals are using the Lancashire Person Record Exchange Service (LPRES) to access records held in nearby locations.
“That will give us access to the MIGs not just in our locality but also south in Preston, to the east in Blackburn and Burnley, and the north in Morecambe Bay and Lancaster,” explained Tilley. “We are already using the MIG to pull back the EPaCCS (Electronic Palliative Care Co-ordination Summary) from local practices and hopefully this will roll out across the region. My ideal future would have the MIG link up with the SCR (Summary Care Records) so that if patients were from out of the area and not covered by the MIG, the MIG interface would then pull back the data from the SCR and present this in a similar way.”
PHOTO CAPTION: L-R) Hannah Sheridan, Alison Wareing and Craig Tilley