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Electronic system to improve patients’ end of life care shared nationally as best practice

Details of an electronic system supporting people who are receiving end of life care in the Humber, Coast and Vale Care Partnership area, have been published nationally, to share with other health and care organisations as best practice.

The Electronic Palliative Care Co-ordination System (EPaCCS) is a palliative care shared record, which enables different health and care organisations to share information about a patient’s end of life preferences and care plans. GP practices, hospices, hospitals and other health and care providers are now using EPaCCS to transform end of life care for people in the area.

The Humber, Coast and Vale Care Partnership is made up of NHS organisations, local councils, health and care providers and voluntary and community organisations, which are working together to improve health and care across Humber, Coast and Vale – an area which includes the cities of Hull and York and large rural areas across East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.

The system, provided by software supplier Black Pear, was piloted across Scarborough, Ryedale, Vale of York and North Lincolnshire and is currently being rolled out further across the region, with planning underway to extend access to social care and care homes. There has been a significant uptake of EPaCCS during the COVID-19 pandemic. The system is accessible to clinicians working remotely, and by the end of October 2020, 3,579 EPaCCS records had been created.  

The blueprints of the EPaCCS system have been shared online as part of the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Blueprinting programme. GDE blueprints are intended to help other NHS organisations to deliver digital capabilities more quickly and cost effectively than has been possible in the past.

Dr Avinash Pillai, GP representative for the Humber, Coast and Vale Local Digital Roadmap committee said: “We are delighted that our EPaCCS project has been recognised nationally. A lot of hard work has taken place alongside our system developers, Black Pear. We believe the system will really transform end of life care for our patients across the area.”

Dr Rumman Afsar, General Practitioner at the Birches Medical Practice in Scunthorpe said: “We can see the clear benefits of EPaCCS for our patients, but also for our clinicians. It allows the sharing of patient preferences and documents, such as the Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT) forms and advanced care plans, which play a vital role in helping clinicians across multiple settings to provide the best care possible for our patients.”

Dr Chris Stanley, General Practitioner at the Haxby Group in York and Hull added: “While EPaCCS is something end of life patients and their families will rarely get to hear about, behind the scenes it has made a considerable difference, allowing multiple agencies to work together and share information in a way that means everyone involved in the patient’s care and wellbeing is on the same page.”

The GDE blueprinting work stream forms part of the national Provider Digitisation Programme. These blueprints are a structured collection of knowledge assets and associated methodology for using them. They highlight important ingredients needed for sustainable health improvements such as organisational leadership and culture, clinical and staff engagement as well as the people and processes required. The blueprint database is currently held on the NHS Futures platform here.

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