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Health and care professionals in Lancashire and South Cumbria now have instant access to potentially lifesaving information

Health and care professionals in Lancashire and South Cumbria now have instant access to potentially lifesaving information thanks to the launch of the new Lancashire Patient Record Exchange Service, which forms part of the region’s digital strategy for health and care.

Sharing patient records provides a significant opportunity to improve the experience for patients, who have given feedback to health and care services that having to repeat their information and medical history to different health professionals is frustrating, time consuming and can result in decisions that can affect a person’s care.

The Lancashire Patient Record Exchange Service (LPRES) links information from GPs, hospitals and community services together giving trained clinicians and health and care professionals immediate access to information such as previous test results, medication history and appointments for when the patient is sat in front of them.

The launch of LPRES was announced alongside the launch of the Our Digital Future strategy for Lancashire and South Cumbria which sets out how NHS and Council organisations will put patients, communities and the public at the heart of developing technology and digital solutions for health and care.

The Digital Strategy outlines a number of shared principles for developing digital solutions between the partners of Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, which includes hospital trusts, NHS organisations and Local Authorities. These principles include involving people in developing solutions, organisations working together to improve quality and safety and using data to prevent, predict and respond to ill-health.

Dr Amanda Thornton, Clinical Lead for Digital Health across Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “As a psychologist, I know that people find having to repeat their stories frustrating and intrusive so having instant access to patient information can be powerful and potentially lifesaving in an emergency. A good example of the impact that sharing records can have is an unconscious patient in A&E; shared records save vital time, helps make better decisions about the care needed, and avoids unintentional errors occurring.”

"Many patients assume that sharing information for care already happens, but a lot of hard work has taken place across Lancashire and South Cumbria to make sure we are connecting up all services that provide care across our communities, with Mental Health Services and the Councils set to safely share critical information through LPRES by the end of July.

“We also need to assure people that the information is secured and can only be viewed by the health or care professional to help make better decisions regarding the patients immediate care needs. No identifiable information is passed on, or used for other purposes.

“Finally it also important to mention that sharing records is only a small part of how we need to use digital and technology to empower people, support health and care staff on the frontline and create a future which is about harnessing the creativity of our workforce and encouraging innovation.”

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council Director for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “We know digital will not work for everybody. Some people struggle with computers and not everybody has access to the internet. For those who would like to use digital but cannot, our aim will be to find ways to help them get online. As our digital offer grows, we hope people will find it easier and more convenient to use online services, but never forgetting that technology will never replace the care and compassion that comes from our dedicated workforce.”

Dr Amanda Doyle, GP and Chief Officer for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: "Whilst we will continue to respond to the specific needs of communities, providers and commissioners alike, we will take a unified approach wherever it adds value, saves time and delivers better outcomes. Technology is developing rapidly and we need to embrace this across Lancashire and South Cumbria to help people to live longer, healthier lives."

The Lancashire Patient Record Exchange Service is only used for direct patient care and consent from patients can be withdrawn either at your GP or when you visit hospital. There are also future plans to extend this service to support social care.

The Our Digital Future strategy is available on the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria website at www.healthierlsc.co.uk/digitalfuture