CQC has said it is ‘working with’ EMIS and SystmOne to allow all GP practices using those systems to access searches of GP clinical systems which would be made as part of a remote inspection.
In the meantime, practices can view clinical searches made after an inspection as they are left on the systems, and can ‘share [them] with other colleagues and practices’.
CQC makes these clinical searches, which ‘focus on the delivery of safe and effective care’, as part of its inspections of GP practices.
Head of inspection for primary medical services at CQC Andy Brand said the regulator had been looking at new ways of regulating GP practices during the pandemic which reduce the time spent on site.
It started the pilot of the new clinical searches at the start of the pandemic, and which then officially became part of CQC’s routine inspection activity from 1 April this year.
Responding to questions from delegates about whether practices could access the clinical searches, CQC’s Dr Tim Ballard said: ‘At the outset when we produced the codes, we had long discussions internally about whether we could actually make them so free to air through our website, and there were significant disadvantages to doing that.’
But he said the CQC is currently ‘working with the main system providers’ EMIS and SystmOne to ‘look at how we might be able to get them onto their national libraries, so that they will be available to all practices using those two systems across the whole of the country’.
He added: ‘We can’t say it’s going to happen yet. We’re still in negotiation with them, but it’s our desire to make them available to everyone.’
However, Mr Brand noted that CQC leaves clinical searches on the practice system post-inspection ‘for practices to use as they see fit’.
He said: ‘[w]ere that be to share with other colleagues and practices, then that’s in the gift of the individual practice. We’re certainly not going to encourage that. But if that were to happen, as I say, the search has become the property of individual practices where we leave them on.’
It comes as the CQC announced it has replaced its use of QOF data to monitor practices with long-term condition searches which have been shared with the RCGP and BMA.
As part of its new approach to monitoring primary care services, CQC has been making monthly virtual checks on ‘all data and information’ it holds about practices since July.
The BMA previously said it was ‘seriously concerned’ about these remote reviews adding more pressure to practices already dealing with immense demand.
Dr Ballard said in the webinar that the CQC is ‘developing a data strategy to monitor data passively’, which will ‘eventually contribute to regular monitoring and the monthly reviews’.
But he added: ‘[W]e’re not there at the moment.’