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uk ambulance staff members in his ambulance. he is wearing  green ambulance uniform typical of uk paramedics. he is sitting in the ambulance ready to go to a call

London’s new Urgent Care Plan goes live

On behalf of the NHS in London, NHS South West London has worked in partnership with Better to deploy a shared care planning application. The Urgent Care Plan enables people living in London to have their care and support preferences shared digitally with health and care professionals across the capital. This will ensure that patients wishes and plans for urgent care situations are taken into consideration at the point of care. The new technology, provided by Better, provider of the market-leading openEHR data platform, also enables the future development of multiple care plans that can be designed to support people with a variety of different health and wellbeing needs and conditions, such as people with learning disabilities, mental health problems, frailty and asthma.

The Pan London Strategic Commissioning Group (SCG) selected Better as its digital development partner in December 2021. The partnership working between the NHS in London, Better and multiple vendors of Electronic Patient records establishes our foundations to develop a dynamic, integrated care planning solution to deliver joined up care for our citizens. This solution supports London’s health and care system that includes 40 NHS Trusts and 1,400 general practices, serving a population of more than nine million people.

By adopting an openEHR data platform across the region, health and care providers can access information in real time, contribute towards a single care plan, and make use of a standard set of tools that can be deployed at the point of care.

Gary McAllister, London Chief Technology Officer, OneLondon, said: “Across London, our vision is to deliver joined-up health and care to our population, which is made possible by the London Care Record and the Urgent Care Plan. Patient care often involves teams of professionals working across different organisations and disciplines, such as GP practices, hospitals, care homes and hospices, so our primary consideration was to find a solution that enabled flexible information sharing. Better’s OpenEHR platform ticked all of the boxes, and clinicians across London are now benefiting from being able to provide safe and holistic care, with the information they need available in the right place, at the right time. We are very excited to see the transformational opportunities that this technology brings to continually improve the care we provide in London.”

Dr Phil Koczan, UCP Clinical Lead and Chief Clinical Safety Officer, said: “In primary care, our day-to-day jobs can be demanding as we support people with varying health and care needs and manage tasks outside of consultations. Maximising the use of digital tools, such as the technology provided by London’s Urgent Care Plan, supports the delivery of quality care for our population, whilst minimising the time it takes to create care plans, giving us more time to spend with the people who need it. 

“When I start a new care plan for a person, I can pre-populate the plan with relevant demographic and medical information that is already on the person’s GP record, such as their prognosis and their preferred place of care. Updates to the care plan can automatically be shared back to the person’s GP record, which ensures healthcare professionals are always viewing the most up-to-date information, while saving us time from entering the same information twice.”

The project has worked in close partnership with multiple partners, including South West London, Better and InterSystems to migrate all existing care plans to the new platform, making sure patients and clinicians were unaffected by the transition. Thanks to the collaboration from EMIS, TPP SystmOne, Adastra, Cleric and Cerner HIE London Urgent care plans can now be accessed directly through these electronic patient record systems, without needing to login separately. The Better platform enables the relevant technical capability to provide interoperability with existing health and care IT systems.

Stuart Crichton, Chief Clinical Information Officer, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “The availability of up-to-date medical information ensures we can make informed clinical decisions in an emergency without delay. This might include information about a person’s medications and advance decisions about treatments such as CPR, which our ambulance teams can access before they arrive. As a result, people and their families can feel assured that their wishes will always be considered if they are in an emergency situation, with information accessible across the entire patient journey, from when an ambulance or 111 is called through to their care in an emergency department, or at home in the community.” 

Matt Cox, Managing Director, Better UK, said: “Working with OneLondon, we are proud to have unlocked the ability for health and care organisations to build dynamic care planning applications and share data in real-time across the capital. By establishing a platform of persistent data with openEHR and creating a low-code environment for health and care professionals, we have transformed London’s digital care planning services, and we are looking forward to seeing the Better platform used to support Londoners, their families and professionals alike. From giving patients greater ownership of their care, to saving health and care professionals time and providing them with instant access to the information they need, the shared care planning solution will provide region-wide benefits for decades to come.”

Murrae Tolson, Programme Director for the London Urgent Care plan, said: “I would like to personally thank our colleagues at Better for forging an effective partnership.  This programme is the result of incredible collaboration between a massive range of stakeholders, including London Clinicians, NHS Digital, OneLondon, the London IUC team, Primary Care-, Acute and Community IT teams, Primary Care IT facilitators and Integrated Care System networks.  I would also like to thank InterSystems, EMIS, TPP SystmOne, Cleric, Cerner HIE and Adastra for their collaboration and professionalism. It will make a tangible difference for patients, with a truly joined up approach to care.”

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