East Cheshire Hospice implements new tech

Patients with advanced, life limiting illnesses are having their final wishes fulfilled thanks to record-sharing technology. East Cheshire Hospice in Macclesfield is using EMIS Web to securely share vital data with other organisations as part of the national Electronic Palliative Care Co-ordination Systems (EPaCCS). The hospice team worked with EMIS Health to tailor the technology to its patients’ needs, and says it has been ‘invaluable’ in helping to improve end of life care.

The hospice has cared for 424 inpatients, 333 day patients and delivered 1700 outpatient appointments since EMIS Web was introduced on 1st April 2015.

Helen Knight, who brings 25 years of nursing and education experience to her role as Clinical and Operations Director of the hospice said: “End of life care involves often complex and sensitive discussions with patients, whether it is about their preferred place of death or decisions that may be taken on their behalf once they’re no longer able to. Being able to record that information and ensuring it is visible to the right people at the right time is crucial.

“Until EMIS Web was introduced, we simply weren’t able to ensure the records were up to date or readily accessible. Patients often had to repeat themselves and we weren’t able to capture data for monitoring and auditing.”

EMIS Web is improving patient care by:

  • Recording patients’ wishes accurately and consistently across healthcare services (e.g. advanced decisions, preferred place of death), ensuring they are visible in real time when needed
  • Securely sharing essential medical information and care plans among all professionals, so that patients do not need to repeat themselves in difficult discussions
  • Enabling the hospice to access the Cheshire Care Record (via the Graphnet interface) meaning that they can view data from The Christie Hospital, Hospitals and social care partners with North West Ambulance Service joining in the future
  • Recording information on and views of family/carers, including appointment information for their new carers service
  • Prioritising information to discuss patient records in weekly community wide multi-disciplinary care planning meetings to ensure those in need get the required support
  • Providing referral information, to increase awareness of hospice services with health and social care professionals

Mike Drew, ICT Manager for the hospice said: “We have shown that with a coordinated approach and a great, interoperable IT system, we can collect and share patient data to improve patient care. We are very proud that the technology is helping our patients to end their lives with dignity and in the way that they wish.

“Simply, it’s the best thing we’ve done – and we want to help others do the same. So far, almost 30 other hospices have visited us to see the difference it’s made.”

East Cheshire Hospice is now looking to introduce managed referrals, which will allow referrals to be made electronically via the system, and to start prescribing via EMIS Web. The Hospice @Home service which they hope to launch by 2018 will also rely on EMIS Health technology. Mike Drew is now chairing a dedicated hospice user group to work with EMIS Health to make it even better.