The interaction between GPs and insurance companies is one that has changed little over the years with requests for medical reports sent and answered by post. The iGPR (Intelligent General Practice Reporting) system, however, looks to revolutionise this interaction with benefits for GPs, insurers and patients alike.
The iGPR Insurer Active Users Group, consisting of insurers Aegon, Aviva, Legal & General, Royal London, Scottish Widows and Zurich, has come together to support the move towards safe, secure electronic medical reporting, via the iGPR system.
This article has been funded by the iGPR Insurer Active Users Group for GP Connect
The rollout of iGPR brings many benefits:
- It is fully compliant with both recent ABI and BMA guidance on obtaining reports electronically.
- It enables the encryption and transmission of the completed report to NHS standards.
- It automatically redacts information on sensitive data or references to third parties the insurer does not need to see.
- It allows reports to be compiled, checked and sent all at the touch of a button, removing the need for time consuming handling of paper.
- The software is provided at no cost to the GP surgery or the NHS.
- It reduces the risk of Data Protection Act breach for GPs, provides consistent reports for insurers, and brings the customer the peace of mind they desire more quickly.
Traditionally, insurers have requested reports from GPs for life insurance applications in a paper format, with the report being returned by post.
This method is far from perfect. It is labour intensive for the GP, the completion of reports is time consuming and most importantly, highly sensitive medical information is being transmitted by insecure means. From talking to patients, we know that they expect private information be transmitted securely.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) recently created a series of 10 principles for requesting and obtaining medical evidence electronically, cementing this important development further still.
The principles were developed with, and are supported by, the BMA and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The BMA guidance can be seen here. And the new system is fully compliant with both the ABI and BMA guidance.
The key now is to increase the number of general practices using the system. The software is already deployed to approximately 70% of GPs across the UK and Niche Health, the software provider, aims to cover the remainder in 2017. It has been supporting the NHS on its paper-free journey for more than 25 years, and following due diligence and extensive testing, a number of major UK insurers have adopted the new process.
Switching to electronic reporting is a simple process that takes around 30 minutes for GP practices to complete – and most importantly, it’s provided at no cost to practices and the NHS.
|Case study: The Old Machar Practice, Aberdeen|
The Old Machar Practice was one of iGPR's pilot sites. GP partner Dr David Cooper says:
‘Though initially reticent, I could very quickly see how easy to use the software was. It’s much safer than our current paper process as the software's redaction feature takes out non-permitted information automatically and it's easy to make further redactions.
‘This gave me great confidence having recently been made aware of heavy fines from the ICO for practices who have shared non-permitted, third party information in reports.
'My other concern was over the proposed fee, but the speed and ease of the system was good enough to convince me that the fee was reflective of the work required. It’s much faster than the previous paper based method and all payments have been rapidly received.’