The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust comprises University Hospital Lewisham, The Children’s Hospital Lewisham and Dunoran Home (a residential nursing home in Bromley). The Trust manages approximately 650 beds and currently employs around 2,500 staff.
The Data Quality Challenge
The south-east London hospitals were seen as having problems with fragmented patient records, particularly the difficulty of identifying whether a record existed for a newly-admitted patient. When patients were admitted to hospital, they were not always correctly identified as having an existing medical record, often due to a change of name or address; sometimes the patient’s state of health made it difficult to get accurate details and sometimes it is simply a case of a clerical error in not finding the patient on the system.
New records were then opened for them and their previous history lost to their clinical team. With approximately 150 ‘new patient’ registrations each day to be compared against the 930,000 existing records in the Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust database, the search for duplicate records was a time-consuming manual task, taking more than half a day. At one stage there was a six month backlog.
As Terry Walton, IT Manager at Lewisham Hospital, points out, “This is not just about meeting government targets and overcoming fragmented patient records. There is a clinical risk if a newly-admitted patient is not identified as having an existing record with us.”
Having clean, high integrity patient data is also an essential requirement for connecting to the Connecting for Health Local Service provider. In his quest to achieve a single patient view, Terry applied for funding from Connecting for Health. He organised a joint procurement for the Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust, Kings College Hospital NHS Trust and the South London and Maudesley NHS Trust.
After considering three possible vendors, Terry and his team chose DQ Global’s Match™ as being the best value for money and providing the greatest ease of use. Match™ works directly with the database to link disparate data sources and identify and process duplicates for a fast and accurate single patient view.
Using Match™, searching for new patient records in the database takes about 10 minutes. Every day, around 10-15 records are identified where the patient has an existing medical record at the hospital. That’s over 4,000 patient records a year that are correctly merged with their previous medical record, maintaining integrity of the patient’s record and ensuring they receive the appropriate treatment. Match™ has also been used to check the entire database of 930,000 records for the duplicates which were being created before checking started three years ago. In less than one hour, Match™ identified 16,000 duplicates which have now been corrected.
The efficiency gained through using Match™ ensure that Lewisham and the other south-east London hospitals are fully on top of their patient records.