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Coronavirus test results now visible to GPs

COVID-19 test results are now being automatically sent to GP systems as well as being communicated to the individual, giving GPs visibility of which of their patients have had COVID-19 tests and whether they have tested positive or negative.

Update: 28 January 2021

This article only applies to laboratory (PCR) tests. At the time of publication these were the only COVID-19 tests available. Other tests are now available but, currently, we do not add the results of these to GP patient records.

Patients who use online patient services such as the NHS App and who have requested full access to their GP medical records will now be able to access their results themselves, as well as receiving their results via communication from the NHS Business Service Authority as before.

The results will appear in patient’s record as a laboratory test result but appear in a way that makes them easily distinguishable from other types of test results.

The new data flow utilises EMIS Health’s Keystone product - which provides messaging of clinical and administrative data such as pathology – with data now flowing into the systems of 95 per cent of GP surgeries and the remaining 5 per cent due to go live soon.

All tests where it is possible to identify the test recipient’s NHS number will be shared. This applies to tests already carried out and to future tests.

There may be a short time lag between the result being communicated to the patient by NHS BSA and the results arriving in the GP system, but it should provide near real-time data.

It applies to all tests booked via the or portals for tests carried out at testing centres or at with at-home testing kits.

Patients do not need to be contacted by the practice as the results will have already been provided to the individual by text and email. Guidance is provided in the text/email; for example requirements on isolation, what to do if symptoms get worse; plus links to national guidance. Individuals do not need to contact their GP practice.

Richard Ashcroft, programme director at NHS Digital, said: “We have worked quickly to ensure this technology can be put in place so that GPs are kept informed about coronavirus tests being undertaken by their patients, while making sure it is done simply, with as little additional admin for GP practice staff as possible. We would like to thank EMIS Health for working with us to deliver this at speed using their Keystone product.

“Many patients would regard it as a given that their test results should automatically appear in their GP medical record, but the technological work behind the scenes with a brand new system such as that delivering the testing programme is considerable.”

Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at EMIS Health, said: “Technology has played a pivotal role in the response to COVID-19 across the board and keeping the medical record up to date with COVID-19 test results means everyone who can share that record has a full picture of the patient’s health, including the patient themselves via Patient Access.

“This will not only help day to day patient care, and it will also help on a wider population health level, as data-led insight relies on full and complete medical records as analysts continue to research COVID-19 and its short- and long-term impact on the nation.”


Notes for editors

  1. EMIS Group is the UK leader in connected healthcare software and systems. Its solutions are widely used across every major UK healthcare setting. EMIS Group’s aim is to join up healthcare through innovative technology, helping healthcare professionals to deliver better, more efficient healthcare to the UK population, supporting longer and healthier lives.


    The Keystone software provides translation and messaging of clinical and administrative data such as pathology and radiology.


    EMIS Group has two core business segments: EMIS Health and EMIS Enterprise.


    EMIS Health is a supplier of innovative integrated care technology to the NHS market, including primary, community, acute and social care.


    EMIS Enterprise is focussed on growth in the business-to-business technology sector within the healthcare market, including management of medicines, partner businesses, patient-facing services and UK healthcare blockchain.


    EMIS Group’s brands include:


    • EMIS Health, supplying innovative and essential technology to 10,000 healthcare users, in the number one or number two market positions in each of its major markets
    • Patient, the UK’s leading independent provider of patient-centric medical and well-being information and related transactional services
      • Egton, providing specialist ICT infrastructure, hardware and engineering services, and non-clinical software into health and social care
      • Dovetail Lab, a health technology company developing blockchain software to facilitate the integration of healthcare data.

Last edited: 28 January 2021 1:41 pm