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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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MERIT’s Electronic Health Record Viewer wins prestigious award for innovation

Published: 16/07/2018

The MERIT programme’s Electronic Health Record Viewer has won the Mental Health Innovation Award at the prestigious Meridian Celebration of Innovation Awards organised by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network. The Electronic Health Record Viewer is an online viewer which allows authorised clinicians to see details of the clinical history of patients whose care is more normally provided by another trust in the partnership.  It works by extracting only the required information from each of the different patient record systems in place across the partner organisations, and displaying it on a standardised screen.

The other shortlisted nominees for the Mental Health Innovation Award were:

  • Dignio Grasp (submitted by Dignio Ltd), a squeezable, hand held device which a patient can use to register the strength, frequency and duration of panic or anxiety attacks.
  • Raising Awareness: Challenging Stigma (submitted by Coventry University), a Mental Health First Aid programme delivered to students at its Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, to enhance resilience and emotional wellbeing and improve recognition of mental health concerns.


Meriden Celebration of Innovation Awards

Accepting the award, Shakeel Sabir, head of the MERIT programme, said:

“The review into the homicide of Christina Edkins in Birmingham in 2013 recommended improvements to information sharing between organisations, including NHS trusts, after finding that Christina’s killer had been known to different NHS mental health trusts in the preceding years, in addition to other support services and the criminal justice system.

“The response of the organisations was to seek a means to share key clinical information with each other at a time of mental health crisis.  The resulting Electronic Health Record Viewer went live in January 2018, and has already been used to provide care to scores of patients.

“Key components underpinning the development include a robust Information Sharing Agreement and Standard Operating Procedures, supported by Caldicott Guardians and information governance managers in each organisation; strong co-operation between ICT staff from the four trusts, alongside an external supplier (Intersystems) which built the framework; a phased rollout, beginning with crisis resolution, home treatment and acute liaison teams who were deemed most likely to encounter patients from neighbouring areas; bespoke, online training materials which can be viewed by clinicians at a time of their choosing via their organisation’s intranet; and a targeted communications strategy, aimed at frontline clinicians, incorporating written materials and face-to-face presentations.

“The concept is a simple one: to provide clinicians with up-to-date information which they can use to make swifter clinical decisions.  We believe that this is a product which could be replicated in other areas, not only in the West Midlands but nationally.”

The MERIT programme team has already given around 20 presentations to teams in the partner trusts, demonstrating the Electronic Health Record Viewer.  The earliest presentations have been given to those teams which clinical directors determined were perhaps more likely to come into contact with patients from other areas, such as those working in crisis resolution, acute liaison and criminal justice diversion.