28 June 2017


Project updates

The PRSB updates on the key changes to four projects including child health events, the outpatient letter standard, the clinical referral information standard and the digital care and support planning standard.


Child health events

The second child health workshop took place this month, focussing on primary care, health visiting and school nursing routine information.

The workshop was attended by more than 50 health and social care professionals, parents and system suppliers and is one of the key steps towards developing a standard for the Digital Child Health Strategy Information.

Working in collaboration with NHS Digital, the PRSB is developing the information sharing requirements for the community child health record which includes the Healthy Child Programme, as part of the NHS England Digital Child Health Strategy. It will mean that birth details, immunisation records and the outcome of developmental reviews will be shared digitally with health care professionals, and also made available to parents/carers through the personal electronic child health record (known as the e-red book). This will help ensure that every child receives the health and care support that they need as key clinical information will be available online where and when it is needed for safer and better care.

During the workshop, health workers and parents discussed headings for the child health records, to ensure that everything could be recorded in a way that will improve safety and efficiency for both parents and clinicians.

The third and final workshop will take place in July, before a survey is issued to gather wider feedback for the standard. For more information go to www.theprsb.org/projects.

Outpatient letters

The PRSB's new standard for outpatient letters is now going through the endorsement process with PRSB members.

The outpatient letter standard is designed to improve and standardise the content of outpatient letters so that professionals, patients and carers receive consistent, reliable, high quality information.

Due to the rise in the number of specialist services delivered out of hospitals, well-structured outpatient letters have become increasingly important in ensuring good communications between clinicians and patients. They are the main method of contact and communication between hospital staff and GPs, and are often the sole record of the consultation held by the outpatient department and hospital.

Developed in conjunction with patients and health and care professionals, the standard is aiming to improve care by helping clinicians to communicate relevant information more quickly, reducing transcription errors by enabling re-use of key data in the GP system and producing better information for audit and research by carrying information in coded format, where appropriate.

The final standard will be published within the next three months, following endorsement. For more information go to www.theprsb.org/projects

Clinical referral information standard

In August, the PRSB will begin work to improve the quality of information sent in GP referral letters, so that hospital consultants can reduce inappropriate referrals and better manage heavy caseloads. This is essential given the ageing population and the number of people living with long-term conditions who need ongoing care. Currently there are also differences between GP systems and GP practices in the clinical content of referrals, with multiple templates in use. Although appointments can be booked online through the NHS Digital e-referrals service (NHS e-RS), many hospitals are still receiving paper letters.

Working with clinicians and patients, the PRSB will work to develop evidence-based standardised headings for referral letters and implementation guidance for electronic referrals from GPs to hospitals. Our aim is to produce standards that are practical to use, provide hospital clinicians with what they need to respond to a referral, help patients get the right care and help GPs to communicate the right information.

The scope of the project will be confirmed through discussion with stakeholders, with a project initiation document produced to confirm the final scope. Following a period of evidence gathering, we will hold a workshop, survey and consultation process. We expect a standard to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018. For more information go to www.theprsb.org/projects

Digital care and support planning standard

A workshop to develop the digital care and support planning standard will take place next month on 11 July.

As the number of people living with complex health conditions continues to increase, patients are utilising a greater range of health and social care services. Working in collaboration with the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) the PRSB is developing the digital care and support planning standard to ensure that care plans can be effectively shared between patients, carers and all health and care professionals involved in the person's care.

In order to ensure that headings reflect the people's information needs, we are working with health, social care workers and patients to draft the standard. Next month we will be holding a workshop in London to discuss suggested headings and information structures, so that we can develop a standard that improves care and efficiency for patients and their families, as well as care professionals. For more information go to www.theprsb.org/projects.

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