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Pilot sees health visitors gain access to digital red book at point of care

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Healthcare professionals can now receive vital child health information digitally, following the launch of a new live national service from the NHS which those behind it say will help to improve the speed of diagnosis.

The service, which has initially been introduced in North East London, provides staff and parents with information that they can use to inform decisions on care and treatment for children.

“This a great opportunity to bring the benefits of standardized and rapidly transferred information to health visitors”

Umesh Gadhvi

The National Events Management Service has been launched in partnership with North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) and its health visiting and child health services. 

The digital service aims to improve the speed of diagnosis by providing health visitors and parents with the same information at the same time about preventative interventions that a child has been given.

According to the trust, it achieved a 20% increase in the timeliness of new birth notifications from out of area maternity units, by using the service.

The service also implements a near real-time message exchange which sends birth notifications, change of address and change of GP practice details.

The trust said it had received 2,000 address changes with the first day of using it.

“We expect to be targeting health resources much more accurately in the coming year”

David Pike

In addition, data from the service is also forwarded to a digital red book offered to mothers as an alternative to the current paper red book given.

Commenting on the first week’s live running, David Pike, programme manager at NELFT, said: “The results so far have been very encouraging.

“Within the first couple of days we achieved a 20% increase in the timeliness of new birth notifications from out of area maternity units, enabling our health visitors to see new families sooner,” he said.

“We also received 2000 address changes on the first day, which means we’re picking up children new to NELFT services much quicker; ensuring those children moving out of area are rapidly notified to their new service provider,” said Mr Pike.

“Based on these early improvements, we expect to be targeting health resources much more accurately in the coming year,” he added.

The IT system suppliers supporting the trust – System C2 (CarePlus), Servelec3 (Rio) and Sitekit4 (eRedbook) – have all collaborated with NHS Digital to connect their systems to the new service.

Martin Dennys, programme manager for digital child health at NHS Digital, said: “Child health information is currently held across a number of different information systems across the UK.

“The National Events Management Service supports the communication between these systems and is an important milestone in the journey to deliver more personalised, responsive and integrated services to families and children,” he said.

Mr Dennys said NHS Digital was now looking forward to “supporting suppliers in rolling the service out more widely”.

According to NHS Digital, the scope of the service will evolve over time and work in conjunction with other local and national services.

It will work to support the whole of the Healthy Child Programme pathway – the universal programme for all families with 0-7-year-old children – and the availability of NHS-held clinical information to parents via digital red books.

Umesh Gadhvi, director of health informatics at NELFT, said: “Connecting to this new national service is a great opportunity to bring the benefits of standardized and rapidly transferred information to our health visitors and the families they work with.

“For new parents, having up-to-date health guidance and information on their child in their hand through the new digital red book service is a great step forward,” he added.

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