Hospital's online health record named best use of IT in the NHS

A personal online patient health record developed at Southampton’s teaching hospitals has been recognised as the best use of IT to support treatment and care within the NHS.

My medical record, a website that allows patients at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to access parts of their health record from home, was awarded the title by a panel of digital health experts at the EHI Awards in London.

Created by the informatics team in collaboration with doctors and nurses and supplier Get Real Health, the site feeds into Microsoft’s HealthVault – an online tool which enables people to store a range of health information for personal use and to share between care providers.

The innovation, which is currently being used by more than 2,000 patients in specialties including cancer, gastroenterology and children’s services, gives staff the opportunity to make information which is held in clinical and administration systems, such as upcoming appointments, test results and consultant advice, available to patients electronically in an instant.

Additionally, patients can keep daily diaries on their health, upload data from medical devices used at home and communicate with their clinicians, including consultants and specialist nurses, without attending hospital.

Following its success, My medical record was adapted for the TrueNTH project, a global initiative led by the Movember Foundation to improve critical areas of prostate cancer care.

In the UK, the TrueNTH is being managed by Prostate Cancer UK, which is now funding self-management for patients using the Southampton system at hospitals across the country.

Within the prostate cancer service at UHS, where the solution is used for surveillance, test results, patient information, signposting and interactive web access to the clinical team, a specialist cancer nurse can remotely review 20 patients per hour – who do not then need to attend a clinic appointment – compared to six in a traditional outpatient setting.

“Our aim is to provide a virtual hospital service which enables patients to have greater access to information and much more control over their healthcare and this innovation is a fantastic example of that vision evolving successfully,” said Adrian Byrne, director of informatics at UHS.

“By improving accessibility to medical information, increasing the flexibility of communication with clinicians and allowing patients more independence, we are seeing reductions in the need for hospital appointments, admissions and readmissions while actually increasing access to specialists.”

The information collected via My medical record and held in a person’s HealthVault, including charts, graphs and tables to provide an overview of trends, can be made available to various clinicians or other carers if the patient allows access.

Kevin Hamer, programme manager for My medical record, added: “We are extremely pleased with the impact this project has had for patients and clinicians so far – it really is transforming the use of IT in the NHS.

“We are now looking to expand its use in more specialties, as well as discussing the possibility of providing services to other trusts in England, and we are very excited about the potential our system has to improve healthcare nationally.”

Kevin Rennie, TrueNTH programme lead at Prostate Cancer UK said: “Many thousands of men undergo treatment for prostate cancer every year in the UK and often face a lengthy road to recovery with multiple hospital visits and check-ups.

"My medical record has the potential to transform prostate cancer care by providing men with the opportunity to manage their follow-up care from the comfort of their own homes, giving them more control and dramatically cutting the amount of time spent in hospital at post treatment clinics. This could also significantly reduce follow up costs for health services over the long term.

“This inventive digital self management solution has been adapted for the TrueNTH programme which aims to develop new, innovative models of care to improve the lives and experiences of the 330,000 men living with prostate cancer here in the UK and many more globally."

He added: "We look forward to the publication of the full project findings and hope that My Medical Record is considered for wider roll out throughout the health service once the full benefits of the TrueNTH project are confirmed."

My medical record has also been shortlisted for two national Health Service Journal awards – Improving care with technology and Using technology to improve efficiency – with the winners set to be announced at a ceremony in London on 23 November.

The EHI Award and HSJ shortlistings follow the trust’s recent selection as one of the Department of Health’s 12 digital centres of excellence, which will see the organisation receive £10 million over four years for further IT development.

Posted on Monday 3 October 2016