West Norfolk patients trial new healthcare smartcards

Dr Julian Brown with one of the new cards.

Dr Julian Brown with one of the new cards. - Credit: Archant

Cutting-edge smartcards will give elderly patients more control over their healthcare.

A pilot scheme being trialled in partnership with West Norfolk care homes is believed to be the first in the country.

Residents will be given patient passports to create personalised care plans and allow extended healthcare teams to access their medical records safely, securely and efficiently. Officials hope it will reduce the need for hospital admissions, by ensuring the right care is made available when needed.

GP practices, community services, ambulance and A&E staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital will be able to access the information.

Dr Julian Brown, senior partner at Litcham Health Centre, who is leading the project, said: 'This West Norfolk smartcard project is an exciting, innovative scheme which aims to provide improved patient empowerment, better integration of the healthcare services delivered to elderly patients and a reduction in unnecessary hospital admissions.

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'Improving communication and sharing information between organisations will help patients promote their own health and wellbeing, identify their own needs and be assisted to have greater control over, and responsibility for, the support and services provided.'

Benefits of the patient passport include allowing doctors to access details about a patient's clinical conditions, medications and allergies.

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Dr Robert Florance, emergency ccare consultant at the QEH, said: 'This will help to break down the barriers to accessing patient health information. Patients often think that we can see their GP records and that their GP can see their hospital records but usually they can't.

'A succinct summary and plan can mean that someone looking after a patient who is not their GP or nurse will be able to understand better their medical problems, medicines and what is in place to help manage them.

Dr Sue Crossman, chief officer of the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WNCCG), said the project provided an opportunity to 'significantly improve' quality of care. WNCCGs first annual meeting takes place at King's Lynn Corn Exchange on Thursday, July 31, at 9.30am.

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