Healthy Children – implementing the digital red book

We are very proud to have eRedbook as one of our four headline “Oak” sponsors for our event in Manchester on Thursday 6th October.  Here Shelley Heffernan explains the benefits that a digital health record has for families.

growing-families-icon-jpeg

I’m Shelley Heffernan,  Professional Lead in Children’s  Nursing  for Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

About 18 months ago, I went to an innovation meeting and saw a presentation on eRedbook and I was inspired by the concept. As I mum myself, I could see the benefits and wished I’d had access to eRedbook when my daughter was a baby. I was a busy working mum who was forever losing my daughters book and my daughter was poorly when she was born, so it was important to me to have all her checks and immunisations recorded in one place.

I also remember thinking at the time that as a Health Visitor this is just what we needed, as it would take my profession into the new era of digitalised health care.  We really needed to keep pace with our ‘technologically savvy’ clients and it could be an exciting service improvement for Health Visiting!

Our families need the option of accessing their health care record at the press of button or via their phones.  More than that, I think they actually expect this. You can access any other service area online, so why not a child health record? For parents who can’t access the electronic record or didn’t want to get involved, there would still be the option of the traditional paper Red Book.

My passion for providing an effective service for clients, which they actually want and my professional responsibility to provide high quality services is what motivated me to get involved in this exciting innovation. This was something that could make a real difference to Health Visiting and how our clients experience our service.

Since then we’ve come a long way and health visitors in central London are now using the eRedbook. Our clients are really enjoying it and they seem to love the fact that they have an online health record all about their baby. We are still developing our approach and piloting the electronic record,  but the priority has always been about improving the parent’s/carer’s experience. Therefore for us, right from the start, getting feedback from our clients was essential. We wanted to know whether this would be something that our clients wanted. We could see the benefits in terms of accessibility and clinical benefits but critical to our success was improving the clients experience.

We also wanted to find out if it would be useful to our HV colleagues and whether it would help them in their practice? As a professional group we are often asked to take on different aspects of practice. Sometimes we can’t see the benefits, so we wanted to test this to see if the eRedbook would make a difference, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Health Visitors really like it and we have eRedbook champions across our boroughs who are assisting us in developing the product into our clinical practice.

Central London eRedbook

Recently all our hard work came to fruition. We have, with our partners Sitekit, successfully implemented the functionality of the eRedbook, so that a child’s immunisation data can now automatically flow into the baby’s eRedbook . What this means for mum, dad or carers is that when they register on eRedbook, their child’s immunisations will be automatically populated within the child’ s electronic record, which marks a real step forward in how our clients will interact with eRedbook.

Parents will have an accurate, up-to-date record of the child’s immunisation status in an easily accessible format . It’s useful for the clinician as it allows them to plan the care for the family, ensure that the baby has all the correct immunisations, and make it easier for families to be to be informed about their child’s health, so they can make the right choices in relation to their child’s health and wellbeing.

This was encapsulated on launch day when for the first time, we observed a mother registering on eRedbook, reviewing the record and easily accessing their baby’s recent immunisation data. She was delighted to have all this information at her finger tips and was extremely impressed.

For more information see http://www.eredbook.org/

 

Shelley Heffernan
September 2016

 

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