12th February 2021
Shared care records are a tactical tool to support immediate challenges such as those presented by COVID-19. Learning from others is the secret to rapid deployment says An-Chan Phung, CIO for Civica MDM.
Matthew Gould, CEO of NHS X, has tasked the country’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) with getting their shared care record systems in place by September 2021. This step is seen as essential to effective collaboration and driving down the long term costs of service provision.
While the benefits of a shared care record or Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) are well understood, there’s a perception that they are difficult to implement and maintain. The core principal of a data management strategy is to ensure data is treated as an asset of the organisation. If data is not being governed or managed, then, by default it becomes a liability. So, if implementing an EMPI is so strategic then why is it important to implement one quickly and not just take your time?
Agility. Being agile is intrinsic to an organisation being able to respond quickly and appropriately. It means improved service, reduced costs and better outcomes. The past year has been difficult for many, impacting almost every facet of personal and professional lives. Organisations that are agile are better able to respond and adapt to the sudden change to normality. Making decisions quickly based on accurate and timely information has been critical to support this. EMPI and master data management (MDM) products are not only large-scale strategic investments but also a tactical tool to support immediate challenges such as those presented by COVID-19.
If Phileas Fogg was able to traverse the world in 80 days back in the 1870s, why does it take longer to implement an EMPI? The reality is that an EMPI is not just technology. It goes beyond the ones and zeroes and it’s those aspects that make up most of the time taken to implement a full data management strategy.
EMPI platforms, as a technology, are typically easy to install and configure and it is possible to have one running in a matter of days. However, installation does not always equal value and it is more difficult to have an EMPI that services all of the various elements of a complex ecosystem much less have one deployed with the appropriate governance and controls in place. Most organisations are complex and supported by lots of disparate computer systems. So how are we able to traverse the EMPI globe in less than 90 days?
The task seems mammoth but like Phileas Fogg we start with a plan.
Fortunately, unlike Phileas, implementing an EMPI has been planned before and the process is being constantly refined. Each part of the journey is well understood and many can be replicated from one implementation to another. If each destination on our journey is a defined task then the transport that we take is the technology, standards and predefined processes that are in place to help us transition from one destination to another. Robust technologies, standards and processes have been developed that have already laid the tracks and the foundation for us to quickly traverse between our points in our journey with a large reduction in risk.
A final thought… as Phileas Fogg embarked on his journey, he was being pursued by a certain Detective Fix from Scotland Yard. Our analogy is neatly wrapped up with Detective Fix representing the governance and data protection that needs to be carefully considered during every step of our journey. These considerations should be done during our journey and not afterwards. If you haven’t read “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne then I would highly recommend it!
So, can you deploy an EMPI in 90 days? The simple answer is yes – because it’s been done before. The process is constantly becoming more refined, further reducing the effort to implement and maintain an EMPI. This means more functionality, reduced risk and ultimately better services for patients.