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Digital care

What we are doing

Our digital strategy is fundamentally about delivery and transformation, and as such, this requires all parts of our health and care system to be fully aligned and in agreement. In order to make this happen, it requires senior leadership from all parts of the health and care system to support the vision, aims and objectives, and make the vision a reality.

We recently published a new digital strategy to reflect the changes across the health and care sector as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our strategic priorities

The strategy brings together five key themes:

  • The essentials: By getting the basics right and working together using shared approaches, we can safely move forward on our digital journey.
  • Improving: An integrated health and care system needs digitally mature organisations and a digitally capable workforce.
  • Connecting: Through continuing to connect the region’s health and care IT systems and through secure sharing of information, we are improving the quality and safety of care.
  • Empowering: By using digital technologies where appropriate, we will empower people to be partners in their own health and care needs.
  • Learning: Through the use of reliable, up-to-date information, data and research we can proactively respond to the needs of our population.

Our regional digital programmes

CDRC Precision develop digital searches and resources for use on existing clinical IT systems (SystmOne & EMIS). Developed by clinicians in the North East, for clinicians, CDRC Precision resources are free to access and are hazard reviewed by NECS. The team work to create resources that support the demands of the system with current resources including searches to support the identification of patients at risk of atrial fibrillation and familial hypercholesterolemia.

Implementing CDRC Precision tools can support clinicians to proactively manage patients care and improve health and wellbeing. The searches quickly identify patients who are likely to benefit from a change in clinical management by providing accurate, real time data.

Find out more

Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record is a programme of work that promotes and facilitates the sharing of health and care information between practitioners and with individuals.

Great North Care Record – Shared Care Record Platform

The Great North Care Record (GNCR) electronically connects patient information from a range of health and social care providers together across the system safely and securely, helping to make care better and safer.

GNCR provides access to potentially life-saving patient information at the click of a button- such as diagnoses, allergies, medications, test results, visits and treatments.   This means health and care staff don’t have to depend upon a patient’s memory when feeling unwell or spend time making a number of phone calls to put the jigsaw pieces together.

Launched in 2019, the following partners are all using the system, with more to follow shortly:

  • 100% of primary care data is being shared – this covers 3.2 million patient records from 413 GP practices.
  • Out-of-hours providers also have access to GNCR
  • 7 acute trusts view GNCR and 6 trusts contribute data (NuTH, Gateshead ST&S, NTH, NCIC and CDDFT)
  • Both Mental Health trusts view and 1 (CNTW) share data
  • Over 200 Community Units are both viewing and sharing data
  • North East Ambulance Service view (crews and service centre) and share crew reports into GNCR.
  • 5 Local Authorities view with Sunderland CC and Durham County Council also sharing information

Across the region, it now receives just under 400,000 hits every month.

For more information, please visit the Great North Care Record website.

A Community Health Services Digital group has been set up to enhance networking opportunities, sharing of best practice, funding opportunities and to join together and signpost to complementary workstreams.

The inaugural group was held in May 2023 with representation from acute trust community teams, local authorities, VCSE sector, commissioning support and beyond. The team publish regular updates on their work which are available below:

The Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) for the North East and North Cumbria oversees a range of transformational digital programmes on behalf of the eight provider trusts across the region. Currently three programmes are in progress. Each programme is focused on improving how data is captured and shared for direct care and service improvement. Using data in a more intelligent way to improve system-wide evaluation and learning to create a Learning Health System.

The maternity system has developed a Digital Strategy which outlines four key aims:

  1. Support care
  2. Empower women
  3. Evaluate and learn
  4. Attract development funding

The following programmes support the aims of the system:

Integration with the Great North Care Record

Work is underway to connect BadgerNet – the maternity record used in most trusts to the Great North Care Record. Initially staff working in the four existing BadgerNet sites (North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS FT, Gateshead Health NHS FT, Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT and County Durham and Darlington NHS FT) can view the Great North Care Record.

When the remaining trusts implement BadgerNet, they too will be able to view the Great North Care Record. This means maternity staff can access the patient’s wider healthcare record. Work is currently underway to enable data from the maternity record to be made available in the Great North Care Record to other healthcare professionals. This is currently in progress and will be available later in 2022/23.

ICE integration with BadgerNet

Part of this work has been agreed and funded. This will allow BadgerNet to be directly integrated with ICE which means that staff will be able to view and order test results from within the BadgerNet system. Further scoping work is underway as there are additional elements of this work which require additional funding.

Digital roadmap

Ethical Healthcare has been commissioned to develop a cohesive reference document to inform the direction and implementation of future digital solutions. This will be based on insight and feedback from stakeholders from around the region from clinical and technical backgrounds so there is a shared understanding and a vision for what the LMNS is trying to achieve and how it will deliver on the ambition of creating a Learning Health System.


This programme is digitising physical glass slides used in pathology. High resolution scanners digitise the image so that these, rather than the physical slides can be shared around the region. This will ensures that clinicians have instant access to samples for faster cancer diagnosis and discussions at multi-disciplinary meetings as well as reduce the cost of transporting slides.

This regional programme aims to connect radiology services across the North East and North Cumbria. Currently radiology information can be shared on request between trusts, but this project is seeking to make access easier and more streamlined. In the future clinicians will be able to access radiology images held in the different systems across the region.

Health Call is a 100% NHS-owned digital health company and provides digital solutions across primary, secondary and community health to improve service efficiency, relieve pressure from busy teams and improve patient experience.

They have developed over 60 specialist digital solutions for remote monitoring, outpatient management, self-referral pathways, booking solutions and patient satisfaction surveys. Every one of their solutions has been developed alongside NHS front-line clinical experts to solve real-world challenges facing health and social care.

Popular solutions include:

  • Digital Care Home
  • Health Call Consult
  • Virtual Wards
  • Digital Wound Care

Health Call provides a regional license for the North East and North Cumbria ICS, meaning all NHS healthcare providers within the region can access Health Call's library of over 60 digital solutions without charge. Fees only apply for additional support for set-up and integration into your service and call and text message charges.

As a proud NHS collaboration, Health Call is always looking to innovate and can develop new, bespoke solutions to improve outcomes at your trust or service. Visit the Health Call website for more information.

Provides free professional and personal development accessible to all informatics staff across the North East and North Cumbria, which includes virtual training, face to face training, special interest groups connecting you to your peers, downloadable resources and much more. Access the network.

Our regional approach to Population Health Management (PHM) improves the health of people in our region by using data driven planning and delivery of proactive care to achieve maximum impact.

This includes segmentation, stratification and impact modelling to identify local ‘at risk’ cohorts and, in turn, designing and targeting interventions to prevent ill-health and to improve care and support for people with ongoing health conditions and reducing unwarranted variations in outcomes.

There are three core capabilities for PHM:

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Intelligence
  3. Interventions.

Find out more about our approach

The Secure Data Environment (SDE) programme is currently under development and will allow partners from across the NHS, local authorities and universities to collaborate on projects that will give new insights into our healthcare services and help develop new innovations and treatments through better use of data.

Collaborative teams will be able to access data from across our health and care organisations, in a governed and regionally accredited secure environment, to answer specific questions relevant to our region.

Access to SDE will be strictly governed in line with regional, legal and ethical regional processes around the use of patient data. People using SDE will then be able to extract their findings, but not the data itself, adding further security and protection around the data. Access to the data is only used for a specific project and then safely archived.

SDE will comply with national protocols and the five ‘safes’ around the use of data. These are:

  • Safe projects
  • Safe data
  • Safe people
  • Safe setting
  • Safe outputs

Find out more about how the region is collaborating to develop the SDE in this strategy document.

Similar programmes to SDE exist around the country, such as the Health Informatics Centre at the University of Dundee, the Adolescent Mental Health Data Platform at Swansea University Medical School and the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre - Patient and public focus groups support design of UK’s first multi-centre proton therapy trial.

The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board was recently awarded funding from NHS England as part of it's Data for Research and Development programme.

This new team works with social care providers to support them with the implementation of digital social care records and access to funding.

Find out more.

Keep up to date

In the news

We publish headlines, blogs and digital case studies in the ICB news section.

Follow us on Twitter

We regularly post news and updates on our Twitter account.

Digital News bulletin

We email a monthly newsletter to our subscribers. Read our latest issue.

Who is involved

Our senior team who lead of digital care for the North East and North Cumbria. For more information contact: necsu.digitalcare@nhs.net

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