North London Partners in health and care

Digital tools become central to NCL pandemic response


The use of digital tools to support health and care workers has been gradually increasing over time, however with the pandemic impacting on all areas of our work, this has rapidly accelerated in the past month. By providing access to information, intelligence about local communities and tools to support new ways of working, digital has been central to the NCL pandemic response.

Digital tools give access to comprehensive health and care information

Health Information Exchange (HIE) provides access to real-time health and care information for the whole care team by drawing information from different sources and displaying it in one simple-to-use format. Prior to the pandemic, HIE was already operational in GP practices in three of our five boroughs and the Royal Free Group of hospitals. Over the past month, we have built on this foundation, with 190 of the 204 practices connecting to HIE, along with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust and Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust. UCLH plan to go live this week and other NHS providers and local authorities are due to join in the coming weeks.

In practice, this means that any health or care staff member, who is authorised and has secure access, can view a complete picture of their client or patient’s health and care. This includes current medications, medical history, allergies, information about appointments and the results of tests and investigations, including any Covid-19 information.

Digital tools provide intelligence, to support the most vulnerable and give staff crucial information about our local communities

HealtheIntent is becoming increasingly available across NCL.  HealtheIntent is a platform that allows health and care professionals in north central London to be more proactive in the care of patients and communities. The system links elements of health and care information from different sources and enables clinicians to manage and plan health and social care for individuals and groups. The system boosts the availability of intelligence about the local population, so that providers of care can respond.

The Covid-19 refocused HealtheIntent programme is supporting NCL in four crucial areas:

  • Identifying and supporting vulnerable individuals: supporting the management of people who are being ‘shielded’, and identifying other vulnerable individuals who may require support by different teams.
  • Supporting admissions and discharges to hospital: for individual residents who may need social care support, showing who has been admitted to hospital and when they are likely to be discharged.
  • Protecting frontline workers: by providing data on where there are COVID-19 positive cases within teams’ case management lists to support health, care and housing professionals who are visiting people in their homes.
  • Identifying deaths: so that teams are notified if individuals under their care have died.

Access to this information is carefully controlled under strict information governance standards and is only available to named individuals in relevant teams including GPs, hospital clinicians and social care teams.

Digital tools support new ways of working

The use of digital tools has been central to our ability to continue delivering a wide-range of care throughout the pandemic.

  • Over 1,000 laptop computers have been deployed to enable remote working, all with the ability to offer video conferencing. This is currently being extended to enable access for key staff from their own devices.
  • Primary care practitioners are now taking a ‘digital-first’ approach to consultations, using remote consultation software that reduces the need for patients to travel to healthcare settings and reduces risk for primary care staff.
  • The online triage system Econsult will be deployed across NCL, with most GP practices and their patients having access by the end of this month.

  • Secure remote access to health and care records systems is ensuring that accurate information is available to staff, and that they can continue to keep patient records up-to-date

For more information on the North London Partners digital programmes go to: www.northlondonpartners.org.uk/ourplan/Areas-of-work/Digital/