Two surgeries in Cornwall have come together to create an innovative collaboration, which is improving patient care.

Trescobeas Surgery in Falmouth and Penryn Surgery have launched a new shared home-visiting service. Although the two practices use different clinical systems, with Trescobeas using Microtest’s Open Evolution and Penryn using TPP’s SystmOne, the practices are able to share patient notes seamlessly thanks to Microtest’s patient record sharing system, Guru.

Yorick O’Nyons, Practice Manager at Trescobeas, says: “This is a ground-breaking collaborative initiative, which would not have been possible at present without Guru enabling the sharing of patient notes.”

A newly established central co-ordinator looks at all the appointments needed across both practices and, assessing the urgency and specific care needs of the patient, allocates the most appropriate person to make the home visit, choosing between a GP, 2 Emergency Care practitioners (ECPs) and the Community Team. The ECPs are new posts which have been recruited through the project and are available to provide coverage 5 days a week all year round. The central co-ordinator post has received funding support and the two ECP posts are co-funded by the two practices. Yorick adds: “Due to the collaborative approach, we have been able to share costs and gain the advantages of scale.”

He continues: “The new collaboration enables us to provide the most appropriate home visit care more quickly than we were able to do previously. Home visits are now available from first thing in the morning, which is a big advantage. It means patients are being seen earlier and is enabling us to cut down on unnecessary admissions. In addition, we can tailor the care according to specific patient needs. The GP, ECPs and community nurses each have specific skills which can now be directed appropriately. Overall, this new project is also taking a huge burden off the GPs in our practice, saving time which can be re-allocated to patients who do specifically need GP input, again improving patient care.”

“Guru is the only IT tool currently available which could enable this project to happen across two different clinical systems. Because of Guru, the ECPs can have patient notes from both practices instantly available to them via their laptop. They can flick between the two systems seamlessly and focus on providing the patient care needed.”

Yorick concludes: “Collaboration is the future of healthcare. Through collaboration, practices can share resources to become more efficient and patient care is improved. However, this needs to be enabled by IT and Guru is leading the way in performing this vital role.”