Chris Netherton

Chris Netherton

Managing Director, Microtest

It’s Summer, or at least it’s meant to be so I was pleased to be able to snatch a week abroad with guaranteed sunshine around a month ago.

Always keen to talk to people, I got into conversation with the person sitting next to me on the flight and it then transpired that they were from the South West of Cornwall and furthermore a patient of a Microtest practice.

Knowing how hard our practices work in the delivery of patient care, I couldn’t resist asking them what they thought of their practice. It was heartening to find they couldn’t be more pleased! It seems that the patient can book an appointment and very often be seen by a GP before 9am on the same day, collecting any new medication from the practice pharmacy as they leave the practice. Compared to my own practice, who take up to 5 days for a GP to phone you back if you phone for an appointment, this really is care! Needless to say, the patient loves their practice and their GP, along with the amazing service their practice provides, so a big and well-deserved pat on the back to Bodriggey Health Centre in Hayle Cornwall.

I then went on to mention our secure patient record sharing product, Guru, which allows a patient to share their Primary Care patient record with Secondary Care Clinicians, should the patient ever need to go into Hospital in Cornwall. Amazingly it turned out that one of them had been admitted to Hospital so they had first hand knowledge and experience and couldn’t speak more highly of their experience.

Guru is doing very well in health and in Cornwall is providing patient records from all Microtest and EMIS practice once a patient has given their explicit consent to view their record. The Guru service provides multiple levels of granularity of access meaning that the appropriate information is available to a clinician as soon as they gain patient consent to view their GP record.

Whilst Guru was also providing patient record access for the TPP SystmOne patents in Cornwall, I’m sorry to say that many SystmOne practices in Cornwall have disabled the sharing of patient records following concern from the Information Commissioners Office and advice from the GPIT Committee’s Dr Paul Cundy who said ‘GPs need to take urgent action to assess their positions’.

Pulse reported “When activated by a GP practice, SystmOne’s enhanced data sharing function allows hospitals, care homes and community services to access GP records and leave their own notes. 

But SystmOne does not alert GPs to when new providers gain access to the patient record, and it does not allow practices to limit record access to local organisations or those directly involved in caring for a patient.”

The full text can be viewed at: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/urgently-consider-switching-off-patient-record-sharing-gpc-it-lead-tells-practices/20034007.article?sm=20034007

Whilst Guru suffers none of these problems, following advice, practices using other systems had to take urgent action to assess their positions which resulted in many of them turning off data sharing for the time being to protect the confidentiality of their patients. It is hoped that this issue will soon be sorted to help deliver the same real benefits to all patients.

To enable Guru to share patient records from an even wider range of providers, Microtest has invested heavily into the new NHS Digital GP Connect project. The company was the first GP system Supplier to produce a purpose written GP Connect application that will allow patient record sharing between Microtest, Vision and Emis systems. As the project advances it will also allow appointments to be booked and Workflow items to be shared between clinical systems so even better things to come as this functionality has been integrated into both Guru and the Microtest Open Evolution clinical system.

So, with an ever-growing numbers of integrations between Guru and other systems and the promises of much new functionality and patient benefits to come, the future is looking very healthy and bright for us all.

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