Orion Health and Healthcare Gateway have a long-standing relationship, built on working with joint customers who want to share GP data through their provider portals using the Medical Interoperability Gateway. This case study explores examples of success and explains how the partnership is planned to develop in the future.

Orion Health and Healthcare Gateway have a long-standing relationship that has developed through working with joint customers on integrated digital care record projects.

The two companies have a close partnership, that will develop further in the future, as health and care organisations look to share more data to support integration and transformation initiatives.

“We expect the partnership to develop very positively,” says Sarah Virji, partnership programme manager at Orion Health. “We want to engage with partners like Healthcare Gateway to deliver benefits for our customers; and we are seeing exciting opportunities where jointly we add real value to them.”

Using GP data as the foundation for information sharing

Healthcare Gateway develops, implements and supports the Medical Interoperability Gateway, or MIG, that enables the real-time exchange of patient information between health and care settings. At the heart of the MIG is the Detailed Care Record (DCR) Service that enables ten categories of information from a patient’s GP record to be shared in real-time with trusted third party applications, either as an HTML view or structured data.

The majority of Orion Health’s customers who have deployed integrated digital care records use the MIG to share GP information with health and care professionals working in other care settings.

Ben Wilson, product specialist lead, Orion Health, says the company can and does extract information from GP systems in other ways. However, integration with the MIG simplifies the process; particularly if there is a “mixed economy” of primary care systems in use across a healthcare economy.

Delivering benefits from a single feed

Being able to share patient information, such as demographics, diagnoses, allergies and medications can deliver big benefits to healthcare economies, health and care professionals and their patients. Health and care professionals can use this information to make informed treatment decisions faster and provide the most appropriate care.

Bristol-based Connecting Care, which has developed into one of the most mature information sharing projects in the country, started by sharing this key information with users right away when its first phase went live in 2013. Today, more than 6,000 health and care professionals have access to the shared care record across the region.

The benefits of access to a patients’ GP information for care providers in the region are far-reaching, as evidenced in this account from a team leader with the Dementia Wellbeing Team. “Connecting Care is a game changer! It negates the need to contact the GP by about 90% re: referral triage. We are more aware of hospital discharge plans and do not have to wait or prompt GP feedback. It’s easy to access CT scans, bloods etc.”

The MIG can also be used to find and share not only additional information held in GP systems but also from various other health and social care systems. For example, in some areas of the country MIG is used to share electronic palliative care co-ordination system (EPaCCs) information; or information about the care preferences for patients at the end of life.

An ambulance trust in England is running a proof of concept with Orion Health to use the MIG to expose this information to dispatchers in its control room.

Virji explains: “Staff can see whether a patient has a care plan in place and, if they do, whether the patient can be cared for at home, to avoid a trip to hospital. Ambulance crews will soon have the same information on tablets. The service is keen to start sharing more information, but even just having that one feed is incredibly valuable.”

Specialist data sets support innovative projects

Healthcare Gateway has also been working with system suppliers for many years to make more health and social care data feeds available through the MIG.

It offers a rich ‘journal view’ of a patient’s record from EMIS Web of GP/community, consisting of coded and texted entries. This along with community and mental health datasets from Servelec’s RiO, an adult social care dataset from Liquidlogic and an acute data set from Teleologic provides a single point of access for multiple datasets.

The ‘journal view’ displays community data entered by community organisations as a series of encounters. The timeframe is configurable.

Finally, the MIG enables document services for customers, which allows organisations to seamlessly send and receive electronic documents. This is fully audited and provides delivery and accepted receipts. Connecting Care use this to enable their hospitals to send discharge summaries and clinical correspondence to GPs; saving clinical and administrative time and reducing print and postage costs.

A partnership for the future

All of these examples demonstrate that the partnership between Orion Health and Healthcare Gateway delivers some of the essential foundations for information sharing projects in the UK today. As Virji explains: “All of our customers want to bring GP data into their information sharing projects, and the MIG makes it quicker and easier to do that.

“The huge benefit is that it delivers a quick win for them. Clinicians see the results almost immediately.” The examples show that the partnership can deliver additional data feeds for specific use-cases and more sophisticated programmes.

Mark Allen, partner relationship manager for Healthcare Gateway, says the MIG managed service along with the organisation’s experience and speed of delivery is essential as new NHS structures, such as sustainability and transformation partnerships and, eventually, integrated care services, mature and seek technology to support integration and transformation programmes.

“There is a high demand for sharing more,” he says. “Customers are looking to bring in additional data feeds including those from mental health and social care into their information sharing projects. Orion Health’s Provider Portal can consume any existing and future MIG dataset. We’re currently working with a number of customers to increase the availability of health and social care data to improve delivery of care across the NHS. It’s an exciting time.”

Similarly, Virji says the biggest constraint, to date, on information sharing projects has been sorting out information sharing agreements; but now there is a growing understanding that “information should be shared, unless there is a strong reason not to do that.”

With that obstacle removed, she says the Orion Health and Healthcare Gateway Partnership will continue to support customers, by enabling their provider portals to draw in more data through the MIG to support new initiatives. She agrees with Allen: “It is an exciting time.”