Innovation and changeDigital TransformationNew Identity Service for London Ambulance Service

New Identity Service for London Ambulance Service

NHS Digital has announced the launch of the new NHS Identity Service that will help ambulance clinicians access patient information on the move

A new NHS Identity Service developed as a pilot by NHS Digital will be used by the London Ambulance Service to give medics access to crucial information about a patient without a Smartcard. This service will prevent the patient having to repeat themselves, while they are in pain or distressed.

The Identity Service should reduce the time the medic needs to spend with each patient and will also aim to reduce A&E admissions.

This is a major first step for the pilot project, which aims to show that the Summary Care Record (SCR) is accessible through a mobile device anywhere.

Improving patient care

Stuart Crichton, Chief Clinical Information Officer at London Ambulance Service said: “This trial is an exciting opportunity to use technology to improve our patient care.

“By being able to securely access patient information on a tablet device at the patient’s side, our clinicians will have more information at their fingertips, enabling them to provide better and more informed care.

“This trial is at the forefront of our use of pioneering technology to bring about real change to the care we provide and we hope to be able to roll this system out across the capital.”

Counting benefits

NHS Digital will use Camden Ambulance Station as an initial user base to test this new Identity Service. Around 60 medics will have access to patients’ SCRs and additional information securely on their iPads. This includes vital information about a patient’s medical history such as details of long-term conditions, significant medical history, ongoing prescriptions, known allergies and any other specific needs.

The pilot will last 16 weeks which will provide project teams with vital information and feedback about the products. This will be essential for ongoing product development, counting benefits experienced from a technical and end user perspective.

Mike Walker, the Programme Head responsible for NHS Identity and Mobile SCRa, said: “This mobile solution has been implemented very quickly in a real-world environment, providing meaningful insight that will inform future direction. I am extremely proud of the team. They have worked hard to get this capability built, enabled and deployed.

“We hope to see that this brings real benefits to the working day of medics and A&E staff and, most importantly, to patients.”

Improving ambulance services

A study by King’s College London last year found that data from outside the NHS, such as information on weather and traffic conditions, could be vital to improving ambulance services.

The report noted that the London Ambulance Service and government should partner with Transport for London (TfL) to get near real-time traffic data to allow them to better navigate the roads. Access to mobile network data would also help ambulance staff make better decisions, it added.

The NHS is developing its own platform for online identity verification instead of using the Gov.uk Verify platform created by the Government Digital Service (GDS), due to concerns that Verify may not be secure enough for all NHS services.

Following the pilot, the aim is to roll out the initiative across the capital so it’s available for all frontline London Ambulance Service clinicians. Next steps for the project are to increase functionality on the Mobile SCRa product and increasing availability to other devices such as Android and Windows. The project teams are also looking to pilot with different care settings. Future plans include enhancing functionality of the tool and making it available for Windows and Android devices.

Earlier this month, the NHS App was successfully tested by more than 3,000 patients. The NHS App, developed by NHS England and NHS Digital, is an important element of a digital-first healthcare system as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

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