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GP practices in Leeds first to implement GP Connect

by Valeria Fiore
5 October 2018

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A pilot programme in Leeds is allowing participating GP practices and clinical staff to share and view patients’ data across different IT systems amongst clinicians from different healthcare services, NHS Digital has said.
GP connect, an NHS Digital programme delivered by EMIS Health, gives clinical staff providing primary, secondary or community care access patients’ GP records.
This is possible as the GP Connect platform allows clinicians to check information registered in EMIS Web using different clinical software, such as Microtest, In Practice Systems Limited or TPP’s clinical systems and vice versa.
Clinicians across different settings started viewing patients’ records held at 17 EMIS practices after the pilot went live in Leeds on 31 August, NHS Digital said.
The pilot will come to an end ‘once all parties involved agree that the functionality has been appropriately tested and is fit for wider adoption’, according to an NHS Digital spokesperson.
Future features
NHS Digital told Management in Practice that although appointment management is not currently part of the pilot, they expect that non-clinical authorised users will be able to ‘book, view and manage patients’ appointments’.
GP Connect will also offer ‘secure access to structured medications and allergies information in a patient’s record’, according to NHS Digital.
EMIS Health – which is part of EMIS Group – worked with Leeds Teaching Hospitals to develop the pilot.
EMIS Group chief medical officer Dr Shaun O’Hanlon said: ‘We are delighted to work with NHS Digital to enable interoperability across systems via GP Connect.
‘The pilot at Leeds Teaching Hospitals is a great example of how giving clinicians vital information in real time enables better informed decisions and safer patient care.’
GP Connect in action
Dr Geoff Hall, senior lecturer in medical oncology and chief clinical information office at Leeds Teaching Hospitals explained how having access to a patient’s information helped him provide better care.
He said that when a patient with advanced pancreatic cancer presented at the hospital, no one had a clue about how much he or his family knew about his condition.
However, thanks to GP Connect, he was able to avoid a ‘stressful conversation’.
He added: ‘His GP was able to share an understanding of his discussion with our patient.  I knew exactly what was going on, what he and his family knew and what he had told his GP he wanted. This is a scenario where having the access to vital information has resulted in better patient care by helping to avoid repeating a potentially emotional and stressful conversation.’