West Norfolk is to be the first area in the country to offer a hi-tech smartcard giving patients more control over their healthcare.
The West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WNCCG) project will see elderly people given patient passports which will empower them to create personalised care plans and give permission to their extended healthcare teams to access their medical records safely, securely and efficiently.
This will enable better coordinated patient care and prevent unnecessary hospital stays.
The West Norfolk smartcard scheme is an initiative of WNCCG and other West Norfolk Alliance members as part of the campaign to fully integrate health and care services across the system.
The scheme will enable health and care professionals from across West Norfolk to access patient records – strictly with the individual’s consent – in order to improve the assessment and clinical management of elderly patients initially in residential care home settings.
The electronic patient passports will support the delivery of the Triage (Targeting a Reduction in Admissions from Geriatric Emergencies) Project which aims to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions for elderly people by using a virtual triage team to assess and support patients.
GPs, community services, ambulance and A&E staff at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, will be able to use a secure web-based software tool called Eclipse to identify patients who are at risk of an emergency admission.
The information will enable health professionals to manage these patients more pro-actively and in keeping with their personalised care-plan.
Dr Julian Brown, senior partner at Litcham Health Centre, who is leading the project said: “This West Norfolk smartcard project is an exciting, innovative scheme which aims to provide improved patient empowerment, better integration of the healthcare services delivered to elderly patients and a reduction in unnecessary hospital admissions.
“The Eclipse software, coupled with these new patient passports, will put people in control of their healthcare, allowing their plans to be implemented and empowering them to decide which information is passed on to healthcare professionals.
“Improving communication and sharing information between organisations will help patients promote their own health and wellbeing, identify their own needs and be assisted to have greater control over, and responsibility for, the support and services provided.”
The smartcard project and other areas of work aimed at improving healthcare in West Norfolk will be on display at WNCCGs first annual meeting, which takes place at Lynn Corn Exchange on Thursday, at 9.30am.