Health and care professionals are being encouraged to move to the new version of an NHS patient record service to enhance the way national patient medical information can be accessed.
The National Care Records Service (NCRS) will replace the Summary Care Record application (SCRa) when it closes at the end of September.
The previous system, SCRa, is currently used by over 15,000 organisations and 115,000 health and care professionals to securely access patient medical information at the point of care.
But it is built on older technology and is not aligned with the more-modern working practices of health and care professionals.
NCRS improves the way staff can access patient records and can be used in clinical, office, or mobile environments over the internet, as well as via the Health and Social Care Network.
By working closely with end users, we have designed the new service to provide a quick and secure way to access national patient information to improve clinical decision-making and healthcare outcomes for patients
The free, web-based service has been specially designed for better internet-first connectivity, making it more compatible with mobile devices in modern healthcare settings.
And siign-in methods have also been upgraded to include secure biometric log-in, Microsoft authenticator, as well as using existing physical and virtual smartcards.
Stephen Koch, executive director for platforms at NHS England, said: “The new NCRS has been created with both mobile and internet technology in mind to better meet the needs of modern healthcare settings and meet accessibility standards in a way the previous system was unable to.
“By working closely with end users, we have designed the new service to provide a quick and secure way to access national patient information to improve clinical decision-making and healthcare outcomes for patients.
“We’ve taken steps to ensure the switch over to NCRS is as quick and simple as possible and hope users will take this opportunity to join the thousands of other health and care staff who have already switched to the new system to benefit from the new features available.”
The new NCRS has been created with both mobile and internet technology in mind to better meet the needs of modern healthcare settings
Services accessed by NCRS will remain the same, enabling health and care professionals to continuing searching for patient NHS numbers using the Personal Demographics Service, access patient Summary Care Records, and view Child Protection information.
But extra features will mean they can now also retrieve care plans through the National Record Locator and view Reasonable Adjustments flags.
Existing smartcard credentials and access rights will also continue to work on NCRS.
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is among the many healthcare settings which has already switched over to the NCRS.
Donna Flatt, data quality manager at the trust, said: “The process of switching over to NCRS was quick and easy.
“It has a nicer appearance and is easy to navigate and NHS number retrieval is also quicker and easier, with a copy button next the NHS number.
It is a much-needed enhancement and improvement to what was already a very useful digital tool, offering only benefits for trusts
“It supports our clinical teams to effectively treat patients using up-to-date and accurate information.”
Simon Parton, head of ICT systems and applications services at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, added: “NCRS offers a better user experience in terms of improved navigation, making it easier and enabling more-efficient ways of working.
“The whole switching process was seamless causing no disruption to service.
“It is a much-needed enhancement and improvement to what was already a very useful digital tool, offering only benefits for trusts.”
All users of SCRa are required to switch to the National Care Records Service (NCRS) before 29 September to continue accessing national patient information services.