Digital technology unites health and social care services in Doncaster

Twelve months on since the Integrated Doncaster Care Record (iDCR) went live, Doncaster health and care services have made significant strides to provide health and care services in more joined up ways, improving outcomes and experiences for patients.

The iDCR is an electronic system, combining primary care, acute, social care, and out-of-hours information. It connects organisations and patient history together, supporting health and care professionals in Doncaster to quickly and securely access health and social care information when caring for patients. It means health and care staff can make quicker and safer decisions about an individual’s care, as well as reducing the need for conversations to be repeated. 

In July this year, several hundred members of health and care staff had access to and are using the system from a range of organisations, such as Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (DBTH), local GPs, nurses, social care teams and others. 

This has helped a number of existing and new services to further develop, all for the benefit of patients, their families and carers.  

The Rapid Response service has the iDCR at its core. When an older patient has a fall at home, the iDCR is an invaluable tool, providing timely information to enable assessments to be completed safely and securely, reducing the need for a patient to be admitted to hospital. This not only saves time and money, it also means the patient can be better cared for in their local community, closer to home, with the support of their family, friends and carers. 

A nurse from the Rapid Response team, based at RDaSH said: “The iDCR system has exceeded my expectations. A key purpose of the Rapid Response service is to ultimately help prevent admission. 

“Having access to patient information and history on the iDCR is so helpful as the patient isn’t always in a position to share the information we need. It has also helped reduce the time it takes for an assessment to be completed as we have the information we need to hand.” 

A patient who has benefitted from the iDCR said: “As a result of this new system being in place, I don’t need as many assessments, tests and investigations as I used to because my previous ones are shared across the hospital and community staff who look after me. I don’t need to keep repeating myself.” 

Over the next 12 months, a dedicated programme of work will take place with all health and care organisations in Doncaster to further promote the work and use of iDCR. One aim is to double the number staff currently using the iDCR, strengthening our focus on integrated working to help reduce time spent on making telephone calls to other departments and organisations. This ultimately means more time spent on caring for patients. 

Jackie Pederson, Chief Officer at NHS Doncaster CCG said: “I am pleased with the continued focus and commitment from health and care organisations in Doncaster to use and further promote the benefits of the iDCR with their staff. 

“A key focus in the NHS Long Term Plan is to enhance and go further with integrated care and digital care records so doing all we can to help the iDCR go from strength to strength is vital. 

“I look forward to working with GPs, nurses, social workers, consultants and other professionals to further digitalise our approach to patient care in Doncaster.”