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Mind the gap: London borough pioneers data sharing to join up health and social care services

Patients in the London Borough of Islington are to benefit from the first information sharing project of its kind aimed at tackling the gaps between NHS and social care services.

Islington Council and The Whittington Hospital have today become the first organisations nationally to go-live with the Adapter Project, brainchild of the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). Both parties have partnered with software providers Liquidlogic, System C and Quicksilva to implement the system. 

The aim of the Adapter Project is to allow professionals from across health and social care to share patient discharge information electronically for the benefit of patients.  Delays in the exchange of information about proposed discharge dates and a patient’s particular needs are regarded as a major cause of delayed discharges from acute settings into the community.  

The HSCIC’s vision is that multiple hospitals and social care departments across London participate in the project, reducing reliance on traditional communication methods such as faxes or the postal service.  Islington Council and The Whittington Hospital are the first in the capital to undergo final testing and take the Adapter system live.

In Islington, the Adapter Project allows the secure exchange of discharge notices between the Whittington’s Medway patient administration system from System C, and Islington Council’s Liquidlogic social care case management system.  Liquidlogic and System C are both part of the same IT group, System C Healthcare.    

Social care teams at Islington Council will from now on receive automated alerts from the Medway PAS direct into their Liquidlogic case management system.  This will flag that a vulnerable adult in the Whittington’s care is about to be discharged from hospital, and will ensure that services and support can be put into place at the point of the patient’s discharge.  

Michael Woolcott, Head of Information Services at the London Borough of Islington Council comments: “Islington is dedicated to improving all aspects of joint working with health agencies and this software will facilitate that a great deal. Both the team here and at Liquidlogic have demonstrated total commitment to the Adapter Project from day one and we are very proud to be the first Local Authority to pass testing and put it into our live system.”

Glenn Winteringham, Director of IM&T at The Whittington Hospital, explains: “This is a very important and concrete example of how IT can be used to transform service delivery for the direct benefit of patients.   The automatic transmission of patient information will make it so much easier to ensure that vulnerable patients are discharged seamlessly into the community, with the right levels of support in place to meet their particular needs.”  

David Grigsby, Director of Liquidlogic says: “Our focus at Liquidlogic and System C is to work together to support our customers fully in the integration of services across health and social care. We are delighted to be involved with a ground-breaking project which delivers such huge benefits for everyone involved, both in terms of service efficiency and improvements in care.”