Orion Health is the UK’s largest provider of clinical portals, or Integrated Digital Care Records*.

By an IDCR we mean a system which can integrate a citizen’s health and care data from disparate systems across a geography into a single view. From this single view clinicians and care givers can then utilise additional functionality such as care planning, test ordering and referral management. In our 15 years’ experience partnering with NHS organisations, including the multi-award-winning Connecting Care programme in Bristol, we’ve seen common themes in the most successful projects. Here are our top five tips for ensuring that your IDCR project thrives:

  • Get the right project leadership – Securing a strong project lead who can provide continuity and a clear vision is perhaps the most defining factor of a successful IDCR implementation. They need to be effective in uniting stakeholders across all the participating organisations that may not have a track record of working together. It is also essential to have a strong steering committee with clinical and local authority champions to support and help drive change management.
  • Develop compelling use cases and track benefits – This is crucial for getting stakeholders and end users on-board right from the start of your IDCR project. If people can’t see the real-world value they’ll get in return for changing their workflows upfront, you’ll likely struggle with engagement throughout. Set a baseline to enable benefits realisation at the start of your project, including data points such as average bed days, access times and patient experience. You’ll then be able to track and prove results down the line.
  • Remove barriers to uptake – A primary measure of a successful project is user uptake. The most successful projects we see have been careful to streamline user workflows as much as possible. Minimising the number of clicks to access and avoiding the need for multiple system log-ins is key. Orion Health can facilitate single-sign-on with GP systems such as EMIS to optimise user experience and encourage adoption.
  • Release functionality in phases – Portal projects are complex, from juggling data challenges to accommodating requirements for a variety of user roles. Avoid trying to do everything at once and take an iterative approach, focusing on the most valuable features first and progress along a well-defined and agreed roadmap in phases.
  • Surface the right information for the right users – When you launch your IDCR, if users don’t find the information useful the first time they log in, you’re unlikely to get a second opportunity to capture their interest. We have a ‘top 14’ list of data items we recommend to help organisations to avoid this pitfall. It’s also beneficial to configure role-based views of the portal to cater for different users, a social worker will need to see a different view to a GP for example.

Follow these steps and you can deliver a successful IDCR which delivers better ways of working for clinicians and care givers, improved patient experience, cost and time efficiencies and more. There are now a number of vanguards who have already been through the process of launching an IDCR, so making reference visits and knowledge sharing along your journey can both inform your own plans and bolster confidence.

* 23.1% of the UK Clinical Portal market, Digital Health Intelligence May 2017