This article was originally written by Michelle Brandt-Sarif
Dovetail took part last week in the INTEROPen One London Hackathon, where they joined fellow INTEROPen community members in a competitive attempt to ‘hack’ solutions to technological challenges facing the NHS. This exciting day provided an opportunity for participants to collaborate, accelerate product development and test the scalability of potential solutions that could connect care providers across health and social care in the future.
The day began with a presentation outlining a range of scenarios that required real-world problems to be solved by teams on the day. Each team was able to choose which scenario they wanted to work on. Although the six scenarios were all different in terms of sequence of events and user requirements, all incorporated elements of bidirectional sharing of information from Personal Health Records (PHR), interconnectivity of the National Record Locator and enabling connectivity with other Local Health and Care Record Exemplar (LHCRE) areas (namely Yorkshire and Humberside). Once all the teams decided which scenario they were going to work on, it was time to get hacking!
Our team was working on a technological solution to enable the easy and secure sharing of a patient’s Crisis Care Plan (CCP) from their GP to secondary care providers. A CCP outlines the wishes of a patient in the case of an emergency, including crucial information such as who to contact, childcare or pet care needs, preference of hospitals for admission if required and other support such as religious or social services that the patient finds helpful. In the scenario given, the patient, Michael, and his GP were able to view his CCP on his PHR, however, there was no simple way to connect this to secondary care services such as ambulance services, emergency departments and social care services if needed. Our challenge was to come up with a solution to link these systems together to help integrate these elements of healthcare and protect the patient’s data and personal wishes.
We hacked away for several hours, collaborating with other teams and with the facilitators of the day to ensure that our ideas were feasible to implement in reality. I found this particularly motivating - knowing that we were working on something that could really help the NHS in the future was very exciting! The morning flew by and after a delicious lunch to refuel our minds, we continued to hack until 5pm, when it was time to present our final creations.
The solution our team came up with was to connect primary care clinical system software, TPP SystmOne, and Synanetics, secondary care clinical system software, in order to enable sharing of the CCP and integrate care settings. The resulting product was a front-end and back-end system to allow easy viewing and sharing of a CCP by a GP.
The Dovetail programmers came up with a UI that enables GPs to search for a patient by their date of birth. This led to a summary page of the patient, with the patient personal details displayed as well as a summary of their current medications and allergies. On this summary page, there are three buttons that the GP can click for more information: “View Allergies”; “View Medications”; “Crisis Care Plan”. On the ‘View Allergies’ and ‘View Medications’ pages, GPs are able to view a full list of the patient’s medications, including doses and dates prescribed on the medication page, and types of allergic reactions and dates of each reaction on the allergy page. Both of these pages also included a search function for ease of use to enable the quick location of specific items if needed. On the ‘Crisis Care Plan’ page, the GP is able to view the patient’s CCP, which contains data pulled from TPP’s GP record system.
Our team also created a button on the ‘Crisis Care Plan’ page to allow GPs to download the CCP and share it with Synanetics systems in the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) format that is compatible with a range of secondary care services. The code we created would link to the patient’s PHR, so the patient could view the same data as the GP and could contact the GP to update their details if required. This transparency with the patient was key to our product, as we wanted to maintain the consent of the patient for the data contained in their CCP and also to inform them of where their data was being shared. Overall, we managed to find a solution to the initial problem and we were pleased with what we created in the short amount of time that we had.
After a long day of hacking, it was time to present what we had created to the rest of the hackathon participants. Watching what other teams came up with was extremely informative - it was very impressive how they managed to incorporate multiple ideas and systems into their solutions in such a short space of time. We were delighted to win the highest number of votes for our product, and were pleased to accept a bottle of Champagne to reward us for our hard work throughout the day!
Overall, it was inspiring to be part of such an innovative event that encouraged the collaboration of various professionals including software engineers, developers, product analysts, implementation consultants and product owners from across the country who share a passion for improving the sphere of healthcare technology. As well as engaging our minds in innovative technological challenges, it was a fantastic opportunity to meet different individuals in the healthcare technology field and to share ideas with like-minded individuals who, like Dovetail, work to improve the connection of patient data with consent.