Dorset council turns to digital records to join up health and social care

Dorset Council is to introduce a new digital system in a bid to integrate health and social care records.

The Dorset Care Record (DCR), powered by Orion Health’s technology, will integrate information from local GPs, hospitals, community teams and local councils. It is driven by collaboration between health and social care organisations across the county, including NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (DCCG), Dorset County Hospital, Poole Hospital, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, Dorset Healthcare along with Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole.

As part of an initial five-year contract with lead authority for the DCR partnership, Orion Health will provide the region’s integrated electronic record needed to deliver a comprehensive range of adult and children’s services.

The solution, the council says, will improve coordination and communication between different agencies by enabling appropriate access to information at the point of care. Enhanced decision making made possible by the accessibility of relevant information will improve treatment outcomes and will reduce delays through more seamless delivery of care. The project has the potential to extend beyond the initial five years to develop it long-term to maximum benefit.

The DCR will encompass diagnoses, prescribed drugs, blood tests, pathology and X-ray results, hospital discharge letters as well as information on next of kin, carers and care providers plus care plans agreed between people and professionals.

“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 Dorset Country Council Chief Executive Debbie Ward and Phil Richardson, director of Design and Transformation at NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and DCR Senior Responsible Officer.

The initiative is being part funded by NHS England’s Integrated Digital Care Fund and partner organisations and is seen as a key enabler for integrated working in support of the shared Sustainability and Transformation Plan for the county.

Long-term, there is a plan to extend the DCR to share data with other health and care organisations which meet the county’s information sharing security criteria, such as hospices and neighbouring NHS facilities that people in Dorset use.

The Partnership has also purchased Orion Health’s Patient Portal solution, which in time will allow citizens to gain access to their own records and actively manage aspects of their care.

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