Transforming Jersey’s health care digitally has taken a step closer, after representatives from the island’s health care industry and the Minister for Health, Deputy Karen Wilson, joined together to hear how a system already in place could be used to improve patient outcomes and improve service and efficiency.
Digital Jersey hosted Dr Masood Nazir, a GP partner at Hall Green Health in Birmingham, and the practice’s Operations Manager, Jamal Syed. The pair were on the Island to share their experience of using technology, which is already available to every GP practice in Jersey, but which hasn’t yet been fully implemented.
Hall Green Health uses the EMIS system which is a digital clinical system that supports joined-up working across all care settings. It not only enables patients to book appointments online or via a phone app, or re-order repeat prescriptions and sick notes, but through a Patient Access facility, it allows individuals to choose to view and share their health data with other health care professionals including pharmacists.
All parties emphasised that it is a digital first approach, not a digital only solution. The pandemic has meant that people embraced digital tools and are now much more comfortable with using them. Even if only a percentage of people choose to use the digital health tools, that will still help those who don’t through the more efficient use of resources.
Minister for Health, Deputy Karen Wilson was positive about the potential: “We are in a position where we are going to have to transform healthcare, and digital capability is key to that. But where it comes to health care in particular, there are solutions already there that we are not tapping into, and I want to see if we can actually use those and improve the quality and effectiveness and the outcomes for patients. That’s what’s really important.”
Several GP practices were represented at the meeting and were positive about the potential for digitisation. Dr Nigel Minihane, GP and board member of the Primary Care Body, took part in the panel discussion. He said that sharing data across the healthcare system would enable professionals within the industry to provide the best care.
“We need to involve the public, their views, make it clear what is possible, that we’re giving them direct control over what data can be accessed predominantly for their benefit. We want to then come back to looking at a policy decision whereby we put a summary care record and patient access together so people can begin to share their data and have elements of their data shared for their benefit.”
However, he said there were some concerns which would need government action, in particular a secure system that would allow for the safe sharing of data across various services, and the law and policies with regard to that data sharing to protect both patients and the doctors.
Two local digital businesses also attended the session and are involved in the EMIS solution. Medibooks which was developed by TSG to manage payments for GPs, is now a global export, and CityPay a payment processing service in Jersey, will now offer full integration.
Digital Jersey CEO, Tony Moretta, who hosted the event, said it had been a positive meeting: “We got to hear a brilliant case study for how tech is being used to improve patient outcomes and efficiency in a major GP surgery in Birmingham and the great news is that it was by using a system that all the GPs in Jersey have access to.
“If we can work together to open up those systems to allow patients to access their own data in Jersey, to book appointments, to order repeat prescriptions, I think that is going to be a great boon to patients and a big benefit to GP practices here, just at a time when we have an ageing population and the cost of running businesses, the cost of employing staff, the ability to recruit staff, is getting harder and harder.
“But we’ve been here before. At Digital Jersey we pulled primary care, secondary care, family nursing, the pharmacists, the technology providers together around the table in 2016 and we published at the beginning of 2017, a detailed Digital Health and Care strategy for Jersey that everyone bought into. Yet it hasn’t been implemented. It’s still the right strategy. We still need to implement it. I heard some really positive noises tonight from the Health Minister and the industry that we need to get on with it.”
What could this mean for you?
- Booking doctors’ appointments online
- Re-ordering prescriptions online, which can be sent directly to pharmacists
- Online sickness note requests forms
- Being able to access your test results yourself, along with allergies and medication lists, and opting to share these with other healthcare professionals if you choose
- Better care and safeguarding for patients through data sharing. Every healthcare professional could have access to allergy and patient history data which is essential for optimum care and treatment. This could even be shared with specialists in the UK if treatment is required there.
- Online payments for all doctor’s bills
- Care Homes and carers can have proxy access which will keep a full audit trail of what was ordered and done for a patient, and who it was done by.
- More efficient use of staff time resulting in better care for patients and cost savings for doctors
- Opportunities for video consultations if required. These would not replace in-person consultations but can help with screening people prior to appointments.
- A digital first but not digital only strategy. People will still be able to access all services offline if they prefer.