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A faulty production line

Daily records upload task is yet another waste of GP time

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Almost a year since we migrated our IT system from EMIS LV to SystmOne, the practice manager uploaded our patients’ summary care records to the Spine.

Easy, we thought,a piece of cake: it will run in the background and require minimal clerical and clinical input. 

Two days later, the penny dropped. Uploading SCRs to the Spine, and updating them daily means more unpaid work we have to deal with in the black hole of general practice.

Admittedly, out of more than 12,000 SCRs on our system only a dozen were different from the ones on the Spine. It turns out that newly-registered patients who were previously registered with a practice that already uploaded its records, will have significant record differences.

For example, imagine a patient told their old GP they had a penicillin allergy. If they then register with our practice, and we upload their new record before their old notes arrive then our blank allergy entry would overwrite their current entry. An event like that could really hurt the patient, and seems to be it would be a clinically significant event.

Thankfully, software flags up issues like this. But somebody still has to manually go through the incongruous records and add an entry where one is missing. This is likely to be a daily task.

If only it were as simple as adding drug allergies, or a drug side effect. But what about ‘had a rash, recently on amoxicillin’? Or the best today, ‘possible allergy to bananas’. How do you code that?

For the very reason some of these entries are vague it could be difficult to justify delegating this chore to clerical staff so the bottom line is it’s going to come back to the GP to do it in the spare half an hour I don’t have.

Will I get paid? Absolutely not, but if you throw me a banana I might find the time to do it.

Dr Hadrian Moss is a GP in Kettering, Northamptonshire. You can tweet him at @DrHMoss.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Yep, same problem here. But the problem is created by badly specified software. As usual, like all other software we are forced to use eg C&B, the SCR software was dreamt up in the NHSE ivory tower by people who are forbidden to do anything as shameful as speaking to front line staff who will actually use the software. Hence when a practice uploads an SCR, instead of adding to the existing SCR it deletes and overwrites the existing SCR. Thus you can overwrite an existing full SCR containing allergies, ADR etc with your totally blank SCR. Now any normal person would specifiy that your upload adds to rather than overwrites the existing. But the NHS is not run by normal sane people and they think it is a matter of shame to ask the users how software should work.

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  • "Will I get paid? Absolutely not, but if you throw me a banana I might find the time to do it."

    Neatly encapsulates why GP is truly doomed.

    If 'they' don't pay then DON'T do it. End of.

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  • and what if the patient has opted out of sharing information?

    I have been told by my practice manager that is you have opted out of SCR, this update is not a requirement?
    I wish they would make this process clearer for patients?

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  • Software should be designed with function and user in mind and I agree the users should be involved they are the ones using the software not the people who buy it!

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