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The waiting game

Thousands of practices receiving out-of-date QOF alerts

Exclusive Nearly 2,000 practices using the SystmOne clinical IT system are receiving out-of-date QOF prompts because the system has not been updated to the 2014/15 QOF, Pulse has learned.

GPs are warning that failing to update the system renders it ‘of no use’ and said that out of date information could actually be ‘dangerous’ and could cause patients to miss follow-ups and practices to lose QOF points.

The clinical IT system, used by 1,800 practices, is intended to provide GPs with reminders on which of their patients QOF applies to and prompts on follow ups and other clinical requirements.

TPP, who operates SystmOne have confirmed it had not updated to QOF version, v28, because it is awaiting an update from the Health and Social Care Information Centre. While the HSCIC has told Pulse that it issued ‘business rules’ for QOF version v29 in June, and that these should be used by system suppliers to develop their internal reporting.

However the latest GMS contract saw a major shake-up of the QOF in April, with 40% of the points removed, so GPs could be completing work that is no longer funded or failing to achieve new points.

Dr Jaimie Green, a SystmOne GP in Northamptonshire, and medical director of the local General Practice Alliance GP federation, told Pulse: ‘The actual system for detecting what needs to be done for QOF, in SystmOne is brilliant, but if you’re not going to have it updated to this year’s QOF, then it’s of no benefit at all.

‘In fact it’s almost dangerous, because it [our clinical IT system] tells us thing’s we haven’t done that we should be doing, and vice versa.’

And we’re in the situation now where we’re a few months down the line and patients will have missed things that should have been done for them.’

Dr Green added: ‘It may be that aspects of their QOF targets may have been missed, so that’s the big concern really. Especially for things like depression, if I remember rightly there was a change in the length of time between review and follow up. It may be that, using last year’s rules, it looks like we’re ok but we may not be.’

A TPP spokesperson told Pulse: ‘We are in the process of updating the Clinical Reports and Indicators to QOF v28 for all practices using SystmOne. (Read codes and templates for QOF v28 are already available to allow users to record the necessary information).’

‘This was caused by a decision to wait for the QOF test pack from HSCIC as we wished to be fully compliant before we released these. However, following feedback from users about the delay, we will release the reports without verifying them against the test pack.’

‘We have released regular status messages to our users throughout the process informing them of progress. We expect that the work will be completed by the end of August.’

TTP later clarified that it was also updating to the latest version, v29, and that it hoped to finalise the update in the next seven days.

A spokesperson for HSCIC told Pulse: ‘The HSCIC publishes business rules for QOF, which GP system suppliers can use to develop their internal reporting tools.’

‘The most recent version of the business rules is version 29, which was published in late June 2014, and most suppliers have built internal reporting based  on these business rules.’

Adding that payment for QOF achievement was based on year end data, and GPs would have opportunity to report any issue that may impact their achievement.

Readers' comments (8)

  • Whilst it might seem like a good idea to wait for a final release, the delay to implementation is hampering our ability to optimise our QOF tactics, and heaps more pressure on us towards year end.

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  • Bye and thanks for all the fish

    The bottom line is it's not good enough TPP. Oh, and while I think about it,, where is the electronic fit note you promised more than a year ago?

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  • We use TPP and this is becoming more and more problematic.

    I think TPP has lost it's interest in the UK market - if you look at their web site it's clear they are looking to sell at global market (China and middle east are mentioned there). Of course we are small market compared to them so I can't see TPP investing in the UK market much now.

    I also heard from CCG IT guys similar feeling. We are trying to go electronic prescribing but TPP has refuse to implement the drug library (EMIS and VISION had no problem) and each TPP surgeries are being asked to transcribe >1400 drugs manually!

    I like the system but if it carries on I'd be campaigning to get us out to another system.

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  • Well done Pulse for publishing a negative story about TPP, given their history of legal action to inhibit adverse criticism

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  • ON scotland this happens every year. Even now my Qof reminders are not accurate

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  • I am glad this has been brought to the attention of GP press. Simply not good enough and risks alienating user folk. I have been happy so far, would be a shame to ruin it if they cannot keep up to date with changes.

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  • Visions the same

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  • TPP have been working on the QOF v28 update for the last few weeks, and this update has now been released to all GP Practices on SystmOne. Work on v29 has already commenced and this update should be with our practices by the end of the week.

    The delay in the QOF update was because we took the approach that it was safer to wait for the QOF assurance to be completed before releasing the update to GP Practices. However, following feedback from our users in June and July, we had decided to release the QOF update without assurance, and have been working through August to accomplish this.

    We apologise for the frustration this has caused our practices, and have re-assessed our policy for future QOF updates, which will be released without waiting for assurance from HSCIC.

    Dr John Connolly
    GP and Clinical Lead, TPP

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