Background Shared care records is identified as one of the foundations to achieving the Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care (National Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership, 2015). Following many years of engagement with the IT Enabler Board in Hackney, St Joseph’s Hospice gained access to the Health Information Exchange (HIE) in July 2017. The King’s Fund in their review of successful digital change projects identified this link with the voluntary sector services provided at St Joseph’s Hospice, as the first link of its kind (Maguire, Evans, Honeyman & Omojomolo, 2018). The evaluation was undertaken after the first 1000 accesses.
Method During December 2018–January 2019, email questionnaires based on the benefits study (Redman et al.) were circulated to the 34 users. Follow-up reminder emails were sent. 12 respondents (seven nurses, five doctors) submitted between December 2018 and March 2019 (excluding the author). The completed questionnaires were evaluated.
Results The respondents identified that they used HIE to access a range of clinical information. Over 80% of the responding doctors and nurses used it to source information when taking a history. Nurses particularly reported this being a ‘much easier’ way to source information. 100% of nurses and 80% of doctors felt it had a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ effect on their working day.
Conclusion The benefits of access to the eLPR (east London Patient Record) have been suggested in this small sample of the first users of HIE in a hospice setting. The overwhelming weight of the responses regarding the benefits of access to information were positive. The results were limited by a low response rate. The findings do suggest that hospices could have considerable benefits with reference to access to information, reduction in administration and efficiency of gathering clinical information from other providers. The author recommends that hospices should explore the digital networks in their local areas to enable future access to shared care record systems as the benefits to hospices are considerable.
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