Healthy London > Resources > Case study: Supporting care homes to join NHSmail

Case study: Supporting care homes to join NHSmail

Bringing together partners with transformation experts and Londoners is one of the key roles Healthy London Partnership (HLP) plays in tackling London’s most complex health challenges. Through partnerships with NHS Digital and NHS England, Healthy London Partnership has played a significant role in bringing a group of care homes onto NHSmail.

What was the challenge?

Care homes largely rely on fax and phone calls to communicate with doctors, hospital and other professionals. This results in a significant amount of time spent by staff waiting on hold to reach the right person or having to make phone calls to check a fax has been received.

Delays and missing information are a common occurrence in this process. Care home staff face difficultites accessing hospital discharge summaries, waiting weeks for letters to arrive, or not arrive at all.

As the demand for cross-sector care continues to grow, a reliable and secure communication system is essential for sending and receiving confidential patient information.

What did we do?

Healthy London Partnership have been working closely with the NHSmail team, NHS Digital and a group of care homes, including Belmont house and Mornington Hall, to roll out NHSmail to a number of homes.

In practice this involved: speaking to nursing staff, residential staff, care home managers, GP’s and hospital discharge teams to understand how everybody talks to each other. We made process maps charting step by step how care homes carry out daily tasks, highlighting the gaps in communication, and identifying where information was not getting back to homes.

We provided managers with one-to-one support to work through the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT), a prerequisite to registering for NHSmail and created guidance documents for staff on how to use NHSmail effectively.

What were the results?

The feedback from care home staff has been positive, with some nurses and staff helping train colleagues.

Staff have been using secure email accounts where they may have previously made a phone call.

“I used my NHSmail account to email our GP and find out how to obtain a death certificate. It was easy to message the GP and reply at a convenient time” Allan Gentle- Rudio, Nurse, Mornington Hall Care Home

“When residents return to the home without a discharge summary, I’ve been able to call the hospital and have it emailed to me on the same day” Joanne Robin-Coker, Home Manager, Mornington Hall

“Sometimes we have residents join us with very limited information on their medical history. I am now able to contact their previous GP surgery and have the doctor  email me the information we need” Aries Castillo, Nurse, Belmont House

The collaboration with care homes has been key to the successful adoption of NHSmail. Through continual feedback from staff and managers, the support we were able to provide has been adapted to meet the needs of care homes.

Find out more

For more information about this work please contact the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Programme: hlp.ehchprogramme@nhs.net.

Read more about HLP’s NHSmail for social care work.

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