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Thousands of practices receiving out-of-date QOF alerts

Exclusive Nearly 2,000 practices using the SystmOne clinical IT system are receiving out-of-date QOF prompts because the system has not been updated to the 2014/15 QOF, Pulse has learned.

GPs are warning that failing to update the system renders it ‘of no use’ and said that out of date information could actually be ‘dangerous’ and could cause patients to miss follow-ups and practices to lose QOF points.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