The transfer of patient records across multiple health communities has proved to be a challenge in the medical world, and passing envelopes stuffed with papers between clinics has become an outdated practice that is neither effective nor efficient. EPRs have provided a much more streamlined way to store patient information and have made it much easier to transfer documents between CCGs. Doctors do not have to waste time writing out notes and can instead type SNOMED codes directly into a computer in seconds freeing up much more time to speak directly with the patient. However, EPRs do have some limitations and transferring information between health communities is not always a simple process. There is currently no universal electronic system in place that all GPs must adopt, and different clinics operate different software for their EPRs. Thankfully, new technology is on the horizon that will unite the disparate operating systems used by CCGs, and keeping track of patient data will soon be easier than ever.
Easy Data Transfer
New software is slowly being rolled out across various GP surgeries across the UK and is designed to solve the problem of data transfer across multiple software systems. The Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) will eliminate the problem of storing bulky paper files, and transfer of EPRs will now take seconds rather than weeks. CCGs can access patient information, blood tests, correspondence and any other form of clinical data instantly and in real time. This will revolutionise the way the NHS currently operates and will put an end to situations where patients get stuck in limbo after their files are accidently lost during transfer.
Organising Vast Amounts of Data
EMIS is currently used by over 100,000 healthcare professionals in the UK and handles 39 million patient records. It allows all CCGs to access information such as patient allergies, medication history, and other crucial details instantly. The software includes a risk stratification tool that analyses patient data and identifies patients that are at risk of emergency hospital admission. EMIS Mobile allows GPs to take patient information with them, and they can even add to EPRs whilst on the road using a laptop or tablet. The Medicines Manager tool links directly to Rx Systems’s ProScript dispensary management software and allows GPs and pharmacists to communicate directly regarding repeat prescriptions.
Engaging Patients In Their Own Healthcare
The UK government has set a target for all GPs to offer online services to patients that will allow them to play a greater role in managing their own healthcare. By March 2015, all patients should be able to access their records online if they wish to do so. Many GPs already offer transactional services to their patients such as ordering repeat prescriptions online and booking appointments. These services have already proved extremely popular amongst patients, and a growing number are now using them instead of contacting GP surgeries directly. Letting patients take charge of certain aspects of their healthcare allows CCGs to devote more time to one-on-one patient care instead of filling out forms and prescriptions.
The Future Of Patient Care
As the improvements to the current system are slowly integrated across all CCGs, the standard of patient care will begin to improve across every NHS department. Loss of patient files or incorrect patient history is the main cause of clinical negligence cases that occur in the UK, and accurate up to date information is the best way to avoid such an occurrence. If a healthcare professional is accused of clinical negligence, it is vital that they seek some form of legal advice from sites like this in order to avoid a potentially devastating situation.
An overhaul of the current system of EPR storage and transfer is long overdue, and the use of many different types of medical software has caused a number of problems amongst different CCGs. Uniting them all will not only make life easier for GPs, but it will also improve patient care by cutting down on waiting lists, freeing up more appointments and allowing direct access to medical services whenever it is required. Patients that take advantage of the new online services will greatly enhance their own experience, and by doing so they will assist CCGs who currently spend many hours performing duties that patients can complete themselves if given the right tools.
Millie Whitehead is passionate about patient management. She enjoys writing about innovative tech and interpersonal skills on healthcare blogs.