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GPs to get ‘quicker and easier’ access to patient information under data-sharing deal

GPs will be able to access patient information from other practices, community and secondary care more easily after a data-sharing agreement was signed this week between the two leading GP IT system manufacturers.

The deal signed by TPP and EMIS will enable record-sharing between SystmOne and EmisWeb IT systems, which are used by the majority of GP practices in England, as well as non-GP providers.

The system suppliers stated this was a move to improve patient care, rather than  for ‘commercial benefit’, and would enable clinicians to work towards the Government’s ambitions for integrated care.

The inability to share records has been a stumbling block in GP attempts to work at scale, but the new scheme would tackle this and could, for example, enable GP federations with both systems to share back office and appointment booking functions.

They will also be able to share more information electronically without the need to send physical records.

The deal will also improve communications outside of general practice, as it will allow greater ‘visibility’ of patient information held on community and secondary care systems for GPs. For example, EMIS primary care data will now be viewable in SystmOne’s electronic patient record which is used in almost a third of acute trusts.

A TPP spokesperson told Pulse: ‘The key benefits here will be for those areas that have a mixed economy of systems – for example SystmOne in Community and EmisWeb in GP – as there will be greater visibility of patient information across the pathway so clinicians will be able to give better, more informed care.

‘Another benefit will be for those groups of GPs working together but using disparate systems – for example, if a federation was using a shared reception desk that needed to book appointments into both EMIS and TPP systems.’

In a joint statement Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at EMIS Group, and Dr John Parry, clinical director at TPP, said: ‘This is a development which has improved patient care – not commercial benefit – at its heart.

‘As leading suppliers of information technology to the NHS, we have a joint responsibility to support the best-possible patient care. By enabling the direct flow of information between our two systems, we will make it quicker and easier for clinicians to deliver integrated patient care across the country and in many different clinical settings.’