When consulting with clinical staff on their five-year plan for systems development, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust encountered a common theme. Clinicians were keen to have improved access to GP patient records. This was consistent with the aims of the IT department to reduce the number of sources of information across the Trust which clinicians need to access.
Finding a solution
Jason Scott, Enterprise Solutions Architect at the Trust was involved in looking at a potential solution that would allow access to GP patient records and integrate easily with the Trust’s existing systems. At this point, he started to look at GP Connect, a suite of API based products delivered by NHS Digital.
GP Connect allows GP practices and authorised clinical NHS staff to share and view GP practice clinical information and data for patients between IT systems, quickly and efficiently for the purposes of Direct Care. GP Connect Access Record: HTML provides real time access to a patient’s GP record, in a read only format, including a summary of consultations and medications.
Evaluation of Access Record: HTML by the Trust IT department and clinicians found this to be a good fit and the decision was made to develop a consumer system to make use of the capability.
Access Record: HTML - benefits realised
Access Record: HTML was enabled at the trust on 29 April 2020 and so far, it has been very well received by clinicians.
For example, roll-out into Medical Assessment Wards has seen a transformation in how patients are assessed, especially out of hours. Assessment would normally involve speaking to the patient and family members to understand medical history and medications. This could also involve trying to reach a patient’s GP for information.
Aileen Coupe, Consultant in Acute Medicine, says:
We find that it has vastly improved our clinical care of the patient, as well as our efficiency of being able to clerk them into the hospital. Enquiries that would have previously taken several hours (drug reconciliation out of hours, previous diagnoses in a patient who is confused, recent contacts with GP) are being completed within minutes.
A medical consultant notes the benefits of GP Connect in a single shift as they:
- Identified benzodiazepine toxicity, that was not otherwise suspected, as the cause of delirium. This prevented unnecessary investigation and early clear management.
- Saw the detailed discussion that the GP had with a patient the week before about whether to investigate observed weight loss –preventing unnecessary imaging/testing and any delay in discharge.
- Clarified the appropriate opiate dose for a patient within minutes rather than hours or days. This provided appropriate pain control for a patient quickly.
Finally, another clinician has commented:
This has revolutionised the speed at which I can work and make timely, accurate plans for patients. It has reduced admin for GPs: they don’t need to get the practice admin staff to email through a summary anymore. Nor do I need a separate written referral. A GP can just send me an NHS number and the rest is on the screen. Don’t ever take it away!
These early results are very positive and the Trust is actively rolling out access to all clinical areas and appropriate staff. They are also interested in exploring how new services planned for GP Connect can enhance their service further.
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
To find out more about University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust’s implementation of GP Connect, or their clinical portal ‘SeeEHR’, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Software Development Manager).