Patient histories in records transferred between GP practices using the GP2GP electronic transfer system are being rendered as ‘gobbledigook’ because of difficulties in matching the codes used by different software providers.
Coventry LMC has reported problems using GP2GP to transfer records between the EMIS and Vision systems, and has set up a working group to investigate claims that key parts of transferred records, such as patient history, are unreadable.
The Department of Health acknowledged that ‘practices may experience a degradation of data’ but said the issue was flagged up by GP systems, allowing the ‘receiving practice to amend the record as required’.
GP2GP is widely regarded as a success story of NHS IT, with figures from last October showing around 5,000 practices have now transferred almost two million records.
But Dr Geevan Dosanjh, a GP in Coventry and member of the LMC working group, said: ‘GP2GP works well if it is a Vision to Vision transfer or an EMIS to EMIS transfer but when you go in between the systems some information seems to get lost.’
‘You get the read code but the additional information, such as the text with patient history, often appears as gobbledigook with a series of symbols, numbers or codes.’
Both EMIS and INPS said they were unaware of the issue, but were investigating. A DH spokesperson said: ‘In some cases, practices may experience a degradation of data when the new patient record is imported into the clinical system. This will usually be because of difficulties in matching codes.’