Portal will allow health boards to exchange medical details

The Scottish Government is working on an information portal that will allow the secure sharing of patient information.

The initiative can be focused on a patient’s so-called key information summary, which is used by health care professionals working in NHS 24, accident and emergency departments, the Scottish Ambulance Service and out-of-hours pharmacies.

Lack of such data sharing is a key issue in the prevention of unscheduled admissions, where medical staff do not having prior knowledge of pre-existing conditions or treatment inevitably leads to overly-cautious diagnosis and avoidable hospital admissions. There is also a need for a common data platform to help share information between health and care.

Health and social care experts gathered in Glasgow for a confer- ence last month organised by digital systems company Communicare247. Eddie Turnbull, director of eHealth at the Scottish Government outlined a vision for integrated digital care. It included the portal, which will enable sharing of data about individual patients between different health boards, which is currently not possible and is expected to be live by 2020.

The conference also heard of the urgent need to update Scotland’s home telecare system, currently based on the analogue public phone network. “Scotland needs to realise the vision for digitally-enabled
care now,” said Tom Morton, chief executive of Communicare247. “It’s time to move on from these grossly inefficient analogue systems that do not meet the current needs of our citizens and hamper Scotland’s aspirations for world-class home-based care.”