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Daily records upload task is yet another waste of GP time

Almost a year since we migrated our IT system from EMIS LV to SystmOne, the practice manager uploaded our patients’ summary care records to the Spine.

Easy, we thought,a piece of cake: it will run in the background and require minimal clerical and clinical input. 

Two days later, the penny dropped. Uploading SCRs to the Spine, and updating them daily means more unpaid work we have to deal with in the black hole of general practice.

Admittedly, out of more than 12,000 SCRs on our system only a dozen were different from the ones on the Spine. It turns out that newly-registered patients who were previously registered with a practice that already uploaded its records, will have significant record differences.

For example, imagine a patient told their old GP they had a penicillin allergy. If they then register with our practice, and we upload their new record before their old notes arrive then our blank allergy entry would overwrite their current entry. An event like that could really hurt the patient, and seems to be it would be a clinically significant event.

Thankfully, software flags up issues like this. But somebody still has to manually go through the incongruous records and add an entry where one is missing. This is likely to be a daily task.

If only it were as simple as adding drug allergies, or a drug side effect. But what about ‘had a rash, recently on amoxicillin’? Or the best today, ‘possible allergy to bananas’. How do you code that?

For the very reason some of these entries are vague it could be difficult to justify delegating this chore to clerical staff so the bottom line is it’s going to come back to the GP to do it in the spare half an hour I don’t have.

Will I get paid? Absolutely not, but if you throw me a banana I might find the time to do it.

Dr Hadrian Moss is a GP in Kettering, Northamptonshire. You can tweet him at @DrHMoss.