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Patients’ Covid-19 test results now visible to most GPs ‘in near real-time’

by Awil Mohamoud
20 July 2020

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Covid-19 test results are now being automatically sent to GP systems via EMIS, meaning many GPs will now be able to see whether their patients have been tested for the virus, NHS Digital has said. 

Results will continue to be sent to tested individuals, but will now also appear in GP medical records ‘in near real-time’, using EMIS’ Health Keystone system, which delivers clinical and admin data to 95% of GP surgeries in England. The remaining 5% of practices are due to go live with the system soon, NHS Digital said.

The new approach will apply to tests booked via the NHS or Government portals and the 119 telephone line, ‘where it is possible to identify the test recipient’s NHS number’, NHS Digital said. Results for tests carried out before the system came into place will be included in GP medical records too.

Patients who use online patient services, such as the NHS app, and who have requested full access to their GP medical records, will now also be able to access their results themselves, as well as via communication from the NHS Business Service Authority, as before. 

Richard Ashcroft, Programme Director at NHS Digital, said: ‘Many patients would regard it as a given that their test results should automatically appear in their GP medical record, but the technological work behind the scenes with a brand new system such as that delivering the testing programme [has been] considerable.’

Shaun O’Hanlon, Chief Medical Officer at EMIS, said: ‘[The new system] will not only help day-to-day patient care, it will also help on a wider population health level, as data-led insight relies on full and complete medical records as analysts continue to research Covid-19 and its short and long-term impact on the nation.’