Delegates from Scotland’s health boards gathered at the Orion Health Scotland Customer
Conference in June 2023 to discuss their priorities and hear about new and upcoming
developments. Here’s a recap on the hot topics that emerged and what customers can
With 150,000 of its health and care professionals using Orion Health technology, Scotland is home
to some of the largest and most established deployments anywhere in the world, delegates at the
June 2023 customer conference heard.
Representatives from health boards gathered at the event in Glasgow to engage on priorities that
matter to them, and to hear first-hand about Orion Health’s plans for innovation and helping
Scotland’s NHS, and wider health and care sector, to make more from digital care records and other
technologies into the future.
Here are five of the key themes that emerged:
- Cloud to mean faster adoption of innovation
- Developing portals: Taking Digital Care Records to the next level.
- Medicines management across settings: for clinical teams and patients
- Digital Front Doors
- Pace: A plan with every health board
Cloud to mean faster adoption of innovation
“Orion Health is a cloud-first organisation and we are determined to help customers shift to the
cloud and realise the benefits of cloud economics,” said Mark Hindle, vice president for UK &
Ireland at Orion Health.
Moving to the cloud will help customers access and adopt new products more quickly, the conference heard.
Frazer Smythe, principal solution architect for Orion Health, said: “It makes it simpler for our
deployment teams to be able to provide you with additional functionality or capabilities. Automated
deployment tooling means deployment speed is much improved; we get much more repeatable,
accurate changes to our configuration.”
Orion Health, which partners with AWS as its cloud provider, has found cloud can also be key for
the “speed of innovation”, Smythe added, allowing the company to more easily use its teams “do
multiple things at the same time.”
And for customers, immediate opportunities to standardise deployment now present a significant
opportunity, delegates heard.
“Solutions across Scotland have built up out of necessity, from solving problems in front of us at the
time and developing solutions incrementally,” said Smythe. “We are moving towards the 80/20 rule.
Those common problems we see across all of our customers – we want to solve those problems
once and make that configuration available to everyone.”
This would also allow more time to be spent on customer priorities, rather than investing resources
repeatedly addressing routine deployment processes. Smythe said: “I’ve spent a lot of time over the
years having conversations about what a patient search should look like. We have been doing that
with every customer on every deployment. That is not solving the big challenges our customers
“We want a standard. That is not something set in stone. But it is about making productive use of
everyone’s time and solving interesting challenges in front of us. This is about shared development
– solving those problems once and sharing those solutions, so everyone has access to innovations
Customers can also expect additional security benefits from moving to the cloud, the conference
heard, opening opportunities to make data accessible to new settings. For example, security
benefits in the cloud “can speed up adoption in new environments such as care homes”, said
Developing portals: Taking Digital Care Records to the next level.
Some 3.5 million patient records are now connected in Scotland through Orion Health’s Amadeus Digital Care Record technology. Now more is coming to help customers benefit from the latest tools available,
Ben Wilson, product solution director for Orion Health, explained that standards are one important
part of this. Work has been ongoing to integrate important PRSB standards into Orion Health’s
Digital Care Record. Some of these standards, such as the Core Information Standard, will help to
define appropriate fields, so that the right data can be captured and shared.
Others, including the adoption of a document indexing standard, are expected to save time for busy
healthcare professionals in finding documents. “This will allow us to define a way to bring
documents into our system from multiple different sources, and provide a structured index so a
clinician knows exactly where to find a document,” said Wilson. “We have embedded this in our
A new portal dashboard, the latest interface for the clinical portal, is another important development,
now available through the latest version of Orion Health’s software. This enables summary
information to be “easily accessible and digestible,” said Wilson. “It uses a responsive display, so it
will fit to the form factor of the device you are using.”
Orion Health has also invested substantial time in creating standardised components, designed to
optimise the user experience, which delegates heard were working well where they had been
deployed around the world. For example, standard panels had been developed for events,
appointments, disabilities, problems, diagnoses, allergies and alerts. In Scotland current
deployments varied. “When you go into the patient summary it is the same data, but displayed very
differently [in different boards],” said Wilson. “We would encourage consolidation on these views in
Scotland.” This would reduce the need for repetition in design thinking.
New functionality is now available, aimed to reduce clicks, to allow multiple screens of information to
be seen side by side, and to make it easier for users in more care environments to access the
Digital Care Record.
“We are working with care home system providers to develop context launch, so users can launch
without the need to type in a username and password,” said Wilson.
Customers were encouraged to upgrade to the latest version to access available developments, but
this would not require an immediate replacement of everything in existing systems that had been
built over a decade, said Wilson. “Why not start smaller, get a new view in place, and evolve from
there.” Immediate gains could be made in areas like medicines management, he added.
Medicines management across settings: for clinical teams and patients
In bringing together clinical data as a single source of truth, Scotland already represents the biggest
footprint in the world for the Orion Health’s Amadeus Medicines Immediate Discharge Letter solution, which has been helping to consolidate information as patients move around the healthcare ecosystem,
Orion Health Medicines product director Aaron Jackson told the conference.
This is “around safe transfers of care in and out of hospital”, he said. “Some of the riskiest elements
are managing medications and allergies. When the patient turns up in the emergency department, we are trying to safely support the transition of the patient into the hospital and safely out at the
A core part of the capability in is integration. Information is bought in to Orion Health’s solutions
from the GP record, and HEPMA – the Hospital Electronic Prescribing and Medicine Administration
system – so that information also “moves back to GP land”, explained Jackson.
With developments in Orion Health’s Amadeus Medicines Viewer product to reduce clicks, save users time, introduce workflow dashboards, and create consolidated views in shared records to leverage data
from different settings as well as from patients and families, “we are continuing to invest in the
product to make it increasingly safe and efficient to get the patient out of the door of busy hospitals,”
Patient access to medicines management has also been a key consideration through the recent
development of a MyMeds app.
“Some patients have very complex medication needs – including Orion Health’s founder and chief
executive Ian McCrae, who suddenly needed to manage a massive list of medications,” said
Jackson. “He had all the challenges of bouncing between specialists, GPs and hospitals. This was
the catalyst for our MyMeds app. We have already released our first cut of the app.”
At present MyMeds is a standalone app, allowing users to enter medicines and manage their
schedule. “The next step is to integrate this with our consolidated view, so the patient can view as
part of our consolidated patient record,” said Jackson. “When this is connected to the Digital Care
Record we expect to see the real benefit. If the patient has the record in their pocket when they turn
up to A&E, that can help to solve a lot of challenges, not to mention to be able to self-manage.”
Digital Front Doors
Patient engagement with their health and data is receiving wider attention from Orion Health.
Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy sets out a requirement for a new Digital Front Door.
Excitement from the conference on what is anticipated to be the “next big leap forward” in digital
health for patients, led to questions around what this would look like and how to develop a business
Find out more on the discussion in our dedicated Digital Front Door write-up.
Pace: A plan with every health board
Colin Gray, Orion Health’s vice president for EMEA services, told the event that the UK represented
“one of the most mature customer bases we have”, and that “Scotland is a key part”. “We have been
here for a substantial amount of time, and we plan to be here for a substantial amount of time
further,” he said. “It is really important to us to drive success forward in Scotland.”
Health boards can now expect personalised plans from Orion Health, to help to put new
opportunities into practice, the conference heard.
“We will give each customer a line-of-sight plan, that covers where you are, where you want to be,
and how you will get there,” said Mark Hindle.
With plans expected following one-to-one meetings with each board, customers speaking from the
floor said this would be very useful.
“The Orion Health team has listened to customers, and has developed its delivery model in
Scotland to respond to both long term strategic and immediate tactical requirements,” said Hindle.
“My challenge to the team is to articulate complex situations into a simple, accessible plan that lets
customers make informed decisions.
“For anyone that wants to accelerate those conversations, we will be present and we will find a way.
We are leading our Scottish efforts from within Scotland.”