During the Covid-19 pandemic, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT) made the decision to share Covid-19 test results with hospital staff via a secure health record to help protect them, their patients and to ensure service continuity by managing staffing levels.
Building on the value of the Care Information Exchange (CIE)
Since 2015 the Trust has been using the Care Information Exchange, the UK’s largest personal health record (powered by Patients Know Best), to share health and care information with patients across North West London. It allows patients to seamlessly access their correspondence, appointments, test results, care plans, as well as securely exchange messages with healthcare teams, record measurements, symptoms, medications, allergies, keep a journal of their health and access tailored resources.
“Our clinical staff are now getting first-hand experience of the value that the Care Information Exchange can add to patient care”
The Care Information Exchange is well used by patients and therefore, became the obvious solution for sharing test results with staff. Furthermore, many staff were already familiar with the platform as it is widely used to manage patient care. However, only a small percentage of staff had their own personal CIE record so the challenge was to get as many staff as possible registered quickly.
By registering hospital staff to access their own CIE personal health record, the Trust was able to share Covid-19 test results (amongst other features) using existing systems and processes i.e. an integration with the hospital lab system.
The process of creating staff health records
The Trust began by registering staff on the Cerner system – the electronic health record service used at ICHT, using data from the electronic staff record. A spine reconciliation was completed to ensure that NHS numbers were included in the Cerner records.
A patient record is created automatically on CIE when a new patient with a valid email address has registered on Cerner. From that point, new information such as appointments or test results is also added to the patient’s health record and is available for them to see upon registration.
Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, CEO and Founder of Patients Know Best, commented: “This is a great way of engaging staff in the use of a personal health record and seeing the benefits for themselves. They are in a much better place to talk to their patients about it if they have used it themselves. We are pleased that the Trust is able to ensure their staff receive their COVID-19 test results in a quick and secure way through the use of the Care Information Exchange using the software of Patients Know Best (PKB).”
The challenge remained to invite staff to activate their CIE record. For optimum security, the Trust uses two-factor authentication to validate identity and activate a record. Staff were already requesting Covid-19 tests using a form on the intranet system and it was modified to additionally collect a personal email and mobile number. A personal email address is needed rather than an NHS email address which is used to manage professional records for clinical care.
Contact details were added to CIE and invitations were sent out. ICHT also promoted the offer using its internal communication channels, including e-bulletins and the intranet. This enabled staff to activate their record in advance of receiving their test results. It also saved a lot of time and work for administrative staff who previously reported all results by telephone.
Linda Watts, General Manager Outpatients & Patient Access/Head of Health Records at ICHT, said: “Around 7,000 staff now have CIE records which is a great achievement. The Care Information Exchange has provided us with the main way to communicate Covid-19 test results over a series of different rounds and approaches to staff testing.
“An additional benefit this has brought has been the increasing knowledge and understanding of the Care Information Exchange for our staff. Our clinical staff are now getting first-hand experience of the value that the Care Information Exchange can add to patient care.”
About Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT)
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust provides acute and specialist healthcare in north west London for around a million people every year. Formed in 2007, they are one of the largest NHS trusts in the country, with over 13,000 staff.
The five hospitals across north west London covered by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and The Western Eye and have a long track record in research and education, influencing clinical practice nationally and worldwide. They also have a growing number of community services and provide private healthcare in dedicated facilities on all sites, including at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s.