Let's face it, access to health information can be complicated.
This is because care is delivered through so many different settings and systems, which we know don't always talk to one another. As a case in point, virtually everyone goes to the GP – yet our health data often leaves this key part of the health system totally out of the picture.
So the System Information and Analytics team at the NSW Ministry of Health embarked on a journey to discover how we can better connect information from GPs with the other pieces in a patient's health journey to get a 'whole of system' view in the one place.
The result has been the
Lumos Program, to bridge that gap in a patient's healthcare information by linking de-identified GP data with NSW Health data. It delivers connected data that helps GPs, health service managers and governments to understand what healthcare people need, where and when, and also what works.
The Lumos team have been thrilled with the program's results, which have been borne out of successful collaborations with the Primary Health Networks and doctors who have helped make Lumos a reality.
GPs say Lumos data provides them with a better understanding of what happens to their patients across the healthcare system which helps them to identify the best places and times to intervene in a patient's healthcare process to improve their outcomes. They appreciate that Lumos is not a data system for managing their individual patients but that, for the first time, they have a system-wide view that helps them plan and evaluate the services their patients need for better health outcomes.
These successes at the hands of the Lumos program are more than just words on a screen, hear firsthand from
Dr Charlotte Hespe and
Dr Jaspreet Saini about how this pioneering program has revolutionised team based patient care in their practices.
The impacts of this program have been felt around the state. Already Lumos has:
You can now see why the Lumos team's pioneering program was a winner at the
NSW Health Awards in the category
of Health Research and Innovation.
But how does it all work you may be asking? Good question. Lumos extracts and links de-identified GP data with NSW Health data using a technique termed "privacy preserving record linkage". In fact, it's the largest linkage of this kind in Australia. The anonymous data is then analysed to produce general practice and Primary Health Network reports and to generally better understand patient needs and how to deliver services that improve patient outcomes.
The Lumos program provides new data back to participating practices to be used to guide improvements to local services. Some of the participating general practices are currently using Lumos data to:
At a state-wide level, the Lumos data asset can underpin large-scale improvements and refocus the system from high volume care to high value care, for example:
Data linkages are performed twice per annum in partnership with the Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL), linking data from participating general practices to other services in the health system.
The data asset includes GP data linked to emergency department, public and private hospital, outpatient, ambulance, cancer, cause of death data and others. Further data assets are added as needed following ethical approval as the program evolves.
The Lumos Program team have put all facets of a patient's healthcare journey on literally the same page by providing a view of the patient's care journey in more detail than ever before, all with the goal of bettering the patient's health outcomes.