I’m pretty sure this happens in your practice as well as mine: all is hunky dory until the patient transfers to another practice that has a different clinical system. Then all you get when the patient transfers in is a thick folder stuffed with two hundred sheets of folded A4 paper printed in a font size that even a teenager would struggle to read in a good light. A 50-something bloke like me hasn’t got a chance.
Receiving such a thick wad of patient notes means the quality of the record will certainly begin to degrade. With the best will in the world, nobody is going to read through every single page to add every detail to the patient’s new record.
This is actually potentially harmful if some important fact such as a drug reaction or a past clinically significant event is probably in there somewhere, never to be seen again. That is, until it happens again and the patient sues you for not being aware of it.
So after all the promises over the past few years from both EMIS and SystemOne on interoperability, why is this still happening?
The need for interoperability is clear and I strongly suspect the technology is up to it as well. Which only leaves the willingness to supply it, and that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the system suppliers.
Dr Hadrian Moss is a GP in Kettering, Northamptonshire. You can tweet him at @DrHMoss.