We all know that ‘the Holy Grail’ in healthcare is when we get to a point where patient services can be provided seamlessly and with continuity across any combination of service providers – from acute and mental health Trusts to community GP practices, pop-up clinics and even via the caregiver in the field.
But, like the Knights of the Round Table, we’ve also had to engage in a lot of questing to try and get there! It’s time however to stop examining the reasons for the relative failure of Connecting for Health or the National Programme for IT. let’s look instead to new and promising ways to get to seamless sharing and information provision: a highly promising medium is emerging in the shape of vendor-neutral archiving (VNA).
You will probably have heard about VNA as a means of providing digital access to medical images, like X-rays and MRI scans, in the context of PACS systems and the like. But the NHS wants a lot more from VNA. Going forward, we are convinced that it’s a sound way to build, from the ground up, the very sort of complete electronic medical record that can be intelligently interrogated by any authorised physician anywhere in the country. This is what the National Programme wanted, but couldn’t deliver ten years ago.
The key step is digitisation. In a big company or a major public sector organisation, you digitise important content to make it dynamic and easily searchable, so that any information required by someone can be easily accessed. Hospitals have the exact same requirement.
So why not extend your PACS system and add a new dimension to the medical images you already need to capture and share? That’s applying a content management approach to the medical record, based on VNA, as a way to make the approach that is core to your ‘business process’ – sharing medical data – even more useful.
In contrast to some expensive, top-down, vendor driven ‘EPR’ (electronic patient record’) is the way to develop a medical record that will work.
A way to actually find the Holy Grail and end the questing