Homerton University Hospital has become the first NHS hospital trust in the UK to start using a new national child protection information sharing (CP-IS) scheme.
The system will be open to NHS clinicians in 'unscheduled care settings' such as emergency departments, walk-in centres, out of hours GP visits and ambulance services. It will provide them with access to social care information to help them decide if a child is at risk.
The CP-IS solution works by transmitting child protection information from local authority IT systems to the central NHS Spine, which can be accessed via the trust's own systems or a web-based viewer. Only NHS staff directly involved with caring for the child will be able to access the information.
CP-IS is due to be fully available nationally by 2018, connecting 1,230 NHS bodies and 152 local authorities. It is being led by NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Homerton is using InterSystems 'HealthShare' platform to access the information in real-time and incorporate it into its own workflows, so clinicians are automatically notified when they are treating a vulnerable child.
The trust said it opted for the platform over the web-based viewer offered by HSCIC as it wanted a local solution to access CP-IS and integrate information into the workflows of systems on site.
When users enter a child's basic details into the trust's systems, the CP-IS information is automatically displayed, it explained. The service will be introduced without additional training for clinical staff.
Homerton's systems integration manager Steve Ouko said: "We firmly believe in the importance and value of the CP-IS project to facilitate the protection of young people and are committed to spearheading the national roll-out of the project.
"InterSystems HealthShare has ensured that our in-house IT team has been able to work closely with the HSCIC to build and implement a solution that gives clinicians the requisite functionality while also keeping us in control of its delivery."
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