GP2GP transfer halves records admin

The roll-out of GP2GP software is halving the amount of time GP practices spend summarising new patient records, according to those who are using the system.

The software, designed to send patient notes electronically between practices when patients move areas, has now been installed in 2,000 practices after its national launch in June 2007.

The system not only automatically picks up when a patient moves practices and transfers the records, but it also flags up if the patient needs a medication review or has any allergies or reactions to medication in the past.

Recent evaluations of pilots in Gateshead in Tyneside and the Isle of Wight found the time spent summarising new records had, on average, been halved using the new system.

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a GP in Croydon, south London, who started piloting the system in his practice over a year ago, said in that time they have not had any problems with the software.

'Our administration staff are pleased with it and from a clinical perspective it makes things much safer,' he said.

'In the past we could have been waiting months for the records to get to us with no idea about the patient's history.'

He said he also liked the fact that the practice now had complete records, whereas in the past only part of the record was ever entered into the system in order to save time.

Dr Fernandes has been using EMIS to EMIS software. However, a spokeswoman for Connecting for Health said a trial of transmitting records between EMIS and INPS had been judged to be fully effective by clinicians.

'There are certain differences in how clinical information is represented, but the data received was still useable by the receiving practice,' she said.

Although most patient records should be able to transfer using the system there are some exceptions, including those that are more than 5MB in volume or have in excess of 99 attachments, and records from practices using third-party document management systems. Connecting for Health said it was working to resolve the problems.

Training for the new system is provided either by clinical system suppliers or local PCT trainers with additional training and support provided by PRIMIS+.

Connecting for Health has announced that NHSmail will be switching to Microsoft Exchange 2007 allowing Outlook and Outlook Web Access to increase functionality for users.

An implementation schedule has not yet been set.

GPletters@haymarket.com.

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