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Hospital Healthcare Europe
Hospital Healthcare Europe

Telehealth hits the spot

29 September, 2010  

A recent report on the use of clinical portals and telehealth in Scotland confirmed that the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinical portal is widely utilised and delivering value for a broad user base across the health board.

The committee examined the use of the technology and progress that has been made to date – in particular, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Clinical Portal, which uses the Orion Health suite of products, was highlighted for the benefits delivered. The portal provides secure and single point of access to vital clinical information from a variety of information sources, and has been widely adopted by the user community across care settings. Using Single Sign On and role based access technology, the portal ensures information is presented to users according to their access rights and privileges, and provides a full audit trail of user activity as an added security function.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the largest health board in the United Kingdom, has 44,000 staff and uses the Orion Health technology to provide a clinician friendly view of information from multiple information sources, including Meditech and iSoft Patient Administration Systems, and access to test results, referrals and clinical documentation.

The committee commented: “It is important that if we need a reminder of how useful clinical portals are, we need only look at the growth in their usage. One example is the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde portal. Last summer, the portal was used to look up about 1,500 test results a week. In the first week of September this year, 180,000 documents were accessed and the portal had around 6,800 active users. That tells us that clinicians like it and, more important, that they are using it.

The portal is not intended as an access point for all the information about a patient that the NHS holds. A survey of clinicians was undertaken in which they were asked to rank the pieces of information that are of most use to them when seeing a patient. The clinicians identified consistently 14 types of key clinical information. Those first types of available information in the clinical portal include such things as current medication, test results and clinical letters. Information items from the top 14 that are harder to get or are not held electronically at the moment will be introduced incrementally so as not to hold up clinician access to information that can be made available quickly. That way of working is entirely consistent with the e-health strategy.”

The success of the clinical portal in Glasgow has relevance for health boards across NHS Scotland, who can learn from the Glasgow developments and build upon progress made to date. Dr Gerard McKay, Consultant Physician, Emergency Care and Medical Services Directorate in Glasgow said:

“The use of the Clinical Portal in ward areas gives me easy and quick access to important clinical information, that allows for the safe management of patients, particularly in the acute setting.

I invariably have Clinical Portal open when working in clinic areas as it provides not only an overview of the patient’s care but pulls together information that was previously accessed through other systems such as labs, radiology reports and letters. Now I can view them in the one place alongside information about the patient’s past and future contacts with the hospital. Additionally information generated from the patients’ consultations with me is then available to share with other clinical services.

One very positive aspect about Clinical Portal is that it is still in development and on several occasions I have had the opportunity to feedback to the development team ways that may improve its functionality for the benefit of those who use it.”

Many trusts in England are turning towards clinical portal and integration technology as a way to provide access to a single view of information, providing immediate benefits to clinicians without the costs and change associated with a new PAS replacement. The portal also offers a mechanism to provide access to GP’s and patients, presenting the information in a safe and role based context that is in line with access rights and user permissions.

“Orion Health is very pleased with the uptake of the Clinical Portal at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde,” commented Charles Scatchard, Orion Health’s President of International. “Recent comments by the parliamentary committee show that clinical portal technology can deliver real clinical benefit and justifies the investment of public funds.”

Orion Health