Microsoft HealthVault, the secure healthcare information data store, is being used across the world in an ever-increasing number of ways, in order to use data to improve health outcomes. Here in the UK, developers are lucky: we have a giant healthcare provider which is hungry for technology solutions. We also have a highly developed ecosystem of technology specialists, and we have at least two generations of citizens who live highly tech-enabled lives.

The next generation can expect data-driven healthcare from the cradle to the grave; and their first step is likely to be the eRedbook, a digital version of the paper Redbook, which logs a child’s healthcare information (growth, vaccinations, check-ups, episodes etc.) from birth.

The eRedbook is available with NHS evaluation partners online and through a smartphone App. It has been developed by Microsoft Partner and healthcare content management specialist, Sitekit Ltd; in collaboration with Microsoft, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) a range of early-adopter NHS Trusts and Harlow Printing, the company behind the printed Redbook. Dan Moulin, Sitekit Applications Director, says “The eRedbook is very closely tied to the paper version. Clinical assurance is fundamental to NHS organisations adopting it, so it’s crucial that we work only with approved content. We are looking to expand that content with the DH’s ‘Information services for Parents’, which will also be approved.”

“But whilst there isn’t new data, what is new is how parents can use it and what they can achieve with it. The eRedbook gives us many opportunities to use technology to improve the engagement of parents in their child’s health. The paper Redbook can get lost; and sometimes it’s just not convenient to update it. The App, however, is in parents’ pockets – at home and in the GP’s surgery. It makes keeping a child’s record up-to-date and complete both collaborative and frictionless.  It’s also proactive: with the eRedbook, we can present important data to the parent and prompt them with upcoming appointments. Parents can log discussions with healthcare providers, and even check test results online”.

The eRedbook is also one of the first products of the Year Zero programme; an initiative designed to data-enable a patient’s whole lifetime of interactions with healthcare providers; and Year Zero itself is one of several projects under the umbrella of the DALLAS (Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles At Scale) programme; majority funded by the Technology Strategy Board.

That said, eRedbook has been on Microsoft’s agenda for some time. Says Mark Smith, Microsoft UK Director of Health and Life Sciences, “When HealthVault launched in the UK in late 2010, we were contacted by several Trusts interested in what applications a secure, trusted and reliable healthcare data repository might support. The Redbook was one of the ideas which Trusts regularly mentioned, and we have progressed it ever since.”

Smith continues, “It is, after all, an excellent use case for the PHR. Parents are a highly engaged and motivated audience. There is also a high penetration of smartphones among parents. The government has a target of delivering full access to patient data by 2015; but open data is only useful if we do something interesting with that data; and this is a great example of the co-production of care in action.

“HealthVault also supports collaborative care projects like eRedbook by providing simple yet secure sharing of healthcare data. Parents can share their child’s developmental data with GPs, other healthcare professionals, and indeed other members of the family.” As one early user of eRedbook says in a video testimonial for Sitekit, “If my mum wants to take him for an appointment [and understand what is being discussed], she can do that”.

As the eRedbook develops, families requiring more care for their children’s conditions (diabetes, for example), can be presented with continuously relevant information and service navigation options. There will be eRedbook modules for particular conditions.

Sitekit’s Dan Moulin says “There is a massive opportunity here for engaging citizens in healthcare and self-care, and if you look at the original purpose of the Redbook, it was to engage parents in the health of their children. The eRedbook, on the foundation of HealthVault, is the ideal opportunity to engage whole families with their personal records online and early in life; and so also introduce other tech-enabled health applications.

“Early feedback from Trusts has been very positive”, continues Moulin. “As well as the Year Zero community of Trusts, we now have interest from several other groups, including NHS Portsmouth and Tower Hamlets’”. The next step will be a launch to healthcare professionals later this year – and parents will be invited by their health visitors to participate. Later, further integration with other child health information systems is planned, in order to cut out duplication and deliver ever more seamless care and information pathways. Interested CCGs are invited to contact Sitekit directly at info@eredbook.org.uk.

By Nick Saalfeld
Wells Park - on behalf of the Microsoft UK Health Team