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GP-to-GP record trials' problems

Practices involved in trials of electronic GP-to-GP records transfer have uncovered problems in their ability to view scanned documents attached to patient notes.

Software underpinning the electronic transfer of records between practices has been unable to find attached files, such as hospital discharge letters or e-mails about a patient.

GP IT experts said certain clinical systems did not link with the document management systems used to hold the attached files.

The problem has patient safety issues as key elements of a patient's notes may not be received by the new practice.

Dr John Williams, a GP in Guildford, Surrey, and clinical safety lead for the pilots,

said practices with InPractice Systems and iSoft software had experienced more problems.

He said: 'The difficulty comes when you have third-

party document management software as they have their own interface.'

Dr Paul Cundy, chair of

the GPC's IT subcommittee, said it was essential that Connect-ing for Health, which runs

the GP-to-GP records transfer system, accreditted third-party document management systems.

These systems also needed to become part of the deal guaranteeing GPs a choice of practice software, he added.

Dr Cundy said: 'Documents are part of a patient's record. Paperless practices can't exist without management systems.'

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