Patient Covid vaccine status now available to Scottish health professionals
Health and care professionals across Scotland can now discover if a patient is vaccinated against Covid-19.
Staff across a wide range of clinical settings, including NHS Scotland health boards, are being given access to an individual’s Covid-19 vaccine status after a digital project was commissioned by the Scottish Government.
The enterprise is enabling the vaccine information held in the National Clinical Data Store (NCDS) to be displayed in a tab in a global healthcare technology company’s ‘shared care record’.
Orion Health’s shared care record – an online collection of patient information – is being used in 11 out of the country’s 14 health boards.
This means their clinicians will have more information about patients experiencing Covid symptoms or side-effects from the jab.
The clinical summary views within the Orion Health shared care record may also be used to display other immunisation data in the future.
Health and care professionals from four health boards in the North of Scotland, which use a regional ‘care portal’, and from NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Fife can already find out whether a patient has been vaccinated, when, and which vaccine they received.
Iain Ross, the head of eHealth at NHS Highland, which acted as the delivery agent for the Scottish Government for the vaccine integration project, explained that the idea grew out of preparations for the rollout of Covid vaccines last year.
“This has been a really good example of collaboration to improve support for patients. The shared care record is simple to access and simple to use, but that simplicity marks many days of hard work by many people from different parts of NHS Scotland, who worked together to deliver this functionality,” he said.
When the rollout of vaccines begun, the Scottish Government appointed a number of organisations to build a national vaccination management tool to enable staff working at vaccination centres to create a vaccine history for the people they jabbed, while GPs also recorded this information in their practice systems.
Information from both sources was also stored in the NCDS. However, emergency clinicians and other health and care professionals who might be involved in a patient’s care were unable to view it.
To address this gap, the ‘Covid-19 vaccine view’ project was set up. The Scottish Government provided funding while NHS Shared Services Scotland (NSS) helped with the contractual arrangements. Technical and clinical expertise was provided by NHS Highland.
These organisations then worked with the NCDS and Orion Health to create a link between the data store and the shared care record. The integration scheme made use of the “very latest” ‘fast healthcare interoperability resources’ (FHIR) standards.
Nick Willox, sales director for Orion Health in Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government wanted a way to get the vaccine status of the population out to NHS Scotland providers and clinicians. Our Shared Care Record covers approximately 75% of the population, so we offered the best platform to do that quickly and safely.
“The project shows how investment in open, scalable data platforms enables health and care organisations to rapidly develop new functionality in response to emerging threats or clinical needs. By working in partnership and making use of the latest FHIR standards we were able to deliver the integration in a very short space of time.”
Aaron Jackson, Medicines Product Director for Orion Health, agreed. “This is a great example of us being able to consume the FHIR API to show information in our Shared Care Record,” he said.
“The NCDS is exposing the latest FHIR Core standard in use in the UK. So, this project is right at the bleeding edge of standards used; but it’s also a good example of how FHIR can be used in a refined way. The connected Shared Care Record is supporting the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out now, but it will be available to support childhood and seasonal vaccination programmes in the future.”