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‘Shared Care’ on-line in ED

Media release: ‘Shared Care’ on-line in ED

Over the last few weeks a quiet revolution has taken place in our Emergency Department, as the Shared Care record went online for our three senior Emergency Department physicians. The Shared Care record is a summary of important information from your GPs medical record such as your allergy status, chronic conditions, and long-term medications.

“Recently an elderly patient came in the Emergency Department quite late at night, quite unwell. While he was mentally alert, he couldn’t recall the names of his medical conditions, or all the medications he was on,” says ED Physician Dr Guin Hooper. “He couldn’t tell me how long his symptoms had been going on for either. After asking his permission, I was able to access his primary care summary on the Shared Care Record, and the information meant that not only was I was able to offer the correct treatment sooner, but I was able to make sure he was prescribed his routine medications immediately. In the past, we might have had to send a family member home to bring in his medication, or wait until the next day to prescribe after we had been in contact with his GP.

Dr Hooper estimates that being able to access the Shared Care Record can save up to 30 minutes each time it’s used. “I’m not reliant on the availability of other people involved in the patent’s care, so it’s not just my time that is being saved,” she says. “I would access the Shared Care Record at least once a shift, so it’s proved it’s worth many times over for me.”

The Shared Care record is part of the Tihei Wairarapa initiative to develop Wairarapa primary health services, and has been available to GPs since September last year. It enables doctors to access information immediately if a patient is being seen at a different practice. “This has proved invaluable for patients transferring between practices, and patients using the Afterhours Medical Service,” says Whaiora GP Annie Lincoln.

Martinborough GP Steve Philip agrees. “As well as participating in the late night clinics in the South Wairarapa, I’m on the weekend roster for the Wairarapa Afterhours Service based at the Masterton Medical building. This means I can see patients from anywhere, some of whom are quite sick,” he says. “Being able to look up a summary of their chronic medical conditions and medicines can make diagnosis and treatment faster and more accurate,” he says. “The access will improve even more as more practices join the system locally and initiatives like this are made available country wide.”

The DHBs ICT manager, Gary Ireland, is equally pleased with the wider rollout of the Shared Care Record. “This system is now available in 4 of the 7 Wairarapa practices covering 70% of our population, as well as in the ED now,” he says. “Patients can ‘opt out’ of the system at any time, and the protocol requires the clinician to ask the patient’s permission before accessing the Shared Care record. “

“In developing this system, we’ve had the time to address issues of patient privacy and sort out what exactly a health professional needs to know,” says Dr Hooper. “The Shared Care Record does not contain sensitive information. The bottom line is the most useful information we need to share is about allergies, chronic medical conditions, and long term medications. There are many circumstances when a person can’t tell us that, or not in a timely way. I really support this as a way of reducing risk for patients, and improving the quality of the care we can provide.”


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