GP federations 'will benefit from data sharing'

GPs will soon be able to share data across the two software systems most widely used by practices, making it easier for federations to work together, according to an IT expert.

Dr Paul Cundy: backs interoperability deal (Photo: Pete Hill)
Dr Paul Cundy: backs interoperability deal (Photo: Pete Hill)

EMIS and TPP are setting up data sharing between their clinical systems, EMIS Web and SystmOne, meaning GPs can access and amend a patient’s record using the other system.

A TPP spokeswoman told GP that setting up the software would take three months. Pilot sites, which are yet to be confirmed, will test the ‘direct interoperability’ out before national roll-out begins.

The move will ‘particularly benefit out-of-hours care and facilitate new models of care provided by GP networks or multidisciplinary providers’, EMIS and TPP say.

Collaboration welcomed

Ewan Davies, former chairman of the British Computer Society’s primary healthcare specialist group, said that the move is likely to ease IT disruption in GP federations.

‘GP practices are working more closely together in various ways, which require the sharing of information between their systems,’ he told GP.

‘In some of these the approach has been to try and standardise on a single system, but this is very expensive and disruptive for the practices that have to change, and a lot of practices are perfectly happy with the system they’ve got.

‘Anything that enables this sort of interworking to take place without the disruptive requirement to move to a single system is to be welcomed.’

Dr Paul Cundy, chairman of the GPC’s IT subcommittee, told GP that the move fits in with the interoperability agenda of the GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) framework for accreditation of GP IT services.

‘We have been calling for this for years,’ he said. ‘We welcome the initiative and look forward to the interfaces being available via the GPSoC application programme interfaces arrangements so that other suppliers can establish similar links.’

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