EMIS has admitted it may have to pay millions in penalties after it discovered ‘a failure’ to meet service levels and reporting obligations for its web service, used by more than half the GPs in England.
The Emis Group said it was working with NHS Digital to discover the extent of the problems with Emis Web, but stressed that ‘neither patient safety nor patient data’ was put at risk.
It said it found ‘lower level usability issues’ in three service areas, including patients getting ‘multiple copies’ of texts reminding them about appointments and issues around clicking on documents.
The issue came to light ‘following a review of customer and product support processes’ by new CEO Andy Thorburn and ‘identified that there has been a failure to meet certain service levels and reporting obligations with NHS Digital, relating to the Group’s EMIS Web product for GPs in England.’
EMIS may have pay the Department of Health and Social Care a penalty under the GP Systems of Choice Contract (GPSoC) for missing service level targets.
Mr Thorburn told investors: ‘These findings have been fully disclosed to NHS Digital, having only very recently come to the Board’s attention.
‘We are currently working in collaboration with NHS Digital to confirm the scale of the issue and assess the full service and contractual impact; however, we confirm that neither patient safety nor patient data has been put at risk as a result of this issue.’
He said: ‘It is too early to quantify precisely the financial impact of this issue but in light of the current position, our estimate is that this will be in the order of upper single digits of millions of pounds.’
An NHS Digital spokesperson said: ‘Our immediate priority was to assess the extent of any clinical safety considerations. Our specialist clinical safety team has concluded this assessment and there is no evidence that public safety or patient data has been put at risk as a result of this issue. We are also working collaboratively with EMIS Group to confirm the scale of the issue and assess the full service and contractual impact on them.’
Reports on the quality of service are compiled monthly and failure to meet agreed service levels lead to a financial penalty, said NHS Digital.