“What Works”: iNetwork Innovation Awards 2015
Title: Information Sharing Gateway
Organisation(s): Lancashire and Cumbria IG Group
Author: Bev Roberts
Service area*1*: 986. Data Management, 1577. Open Data Publication.
Description of project
IG specialists have lacked the tools to keep pace with the technical development of interoperable systems that are the key to delivering integrated care in the public sector. Starting in November 2014, members of the Lancs and Cumbria IG group set out to change that in a project led by a team in University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay and funded by the LPRES programme at NW Shared Infrastructure Service. In less than 12 months, they have developed the Information Sharing Gateway – an electronic system that has been designed to streamline and simplify the process for developing, risk assessing and approving information flows shared between organisations. Importantly, this has been developed by IG specialists, for IG specialists. The process has been ably facilitated by the development team in UHMB, who have translated the requirements into an intuitive system. The system provides an administration suite to register organisations, record their IG assurance status and populate a ‘shop window’ of information assets. When setting up sharing, data flows from these assets can be documented, risk assessed (PIA, security), approved and managed via the system in compliance with Information Commissioner’s Office best practice guidance.
What makes this initiative remarkable?
The idea for the system is simple and based on Information Sharing guidance and processes that are well adopted, but the impact has already been huge. The system has already been adopted by over 100 organisations in Lancashire and Cumbria and is set for much wider adoption over the coming months. The innovation lay in recognising that matching the IG capacity to the technical capacity for development of interoperable systems would require electronic working – ‘the tools to do the job’. The LCIGG group set about finding funding and setting up the project themselves with determined self-belief that they knew the best way to solve their own problems.
ISG speeds, simplifies and streamlines IG work but also has potential to integrate with the interoperable systems themselves for ‘live’ sign off. It is designed to release administrative time to spend in ‘actions that add value,’ working with front line staff in the sharing community to improve IG understanding and compliance. It has taken tenacity and commitment from all the partners. We have had to listen to each other and problem solve. It is a great example of what can be achieved if good ideas are backed and groups of specialists set about solving their own problems.
What has the project achieved?
Of the Project:
Rapidly establishing the highly committed, tenacious group of IG specialists drawn from health acute and mental health sectors, CCG, ambulance, police and local authorities and a talented development team Unwavering focus on getting a solution drove fast-paced collaborative work – we didn’t fall out when we could have done!
Understanding each other’s sector-specific language and structures and devising pragmatic ways to make the system work for all.
Great backing and support to create and achieve from NWSIS.
‘open’ development with details freely shared with interested parties, sandpit system freely available to all.
About the System:
Already live and adopted by over 100 organisations.
Under evaluation by HSCIC as a national IG tool.
Supportive ‘sponsorship’ facility for smaller organisations.
Greater transparency about how patient information is shared, with whom and why (with future plans to publish to public).
Streamlined, consistent processes in line with ICO guidance make for faster administration and quicker implementation of information sharing to drive integrated care.
Enables a ‘multiplier effect’ of improvements in IG practice – flows and materials can be quickly and simply propagated via the system.