Case Study: Microtest brings benefits of record sharing to the Three Harbours collaboration


Three GP surgeries in Cornwall have joined together to create an innovative trial over the festive period December 2017 – January 2018.

The Three Harbours collaboration is made up of the Fowey River Practice (with branch surgeries in Par and Polruan), Middleway Surgery (which is situated between St Blazey and Par Harbour) and Lostwithiel Medical Practice.

Working together to provide patient cover, the three practices agreed a rota to allow one of the practices to be open each Saturday over the festive period.

The three practices used their Microtest clinical system to collaborate, allowing the practices to book their patients into the duty practice’s clinics for each Saturday and providing secure remote patient record sharing.

A patient from any practice could attend clinics at the designated surgery with the duty GP having full access to patient records booked into their clinic. Details of the consultation were then inserted into the patient’s own practice clinical Workflow so their usual practice could manage the ongoing care of each patient.

Record sharing and collaborative working allowed us to provide improved patient care over this period.

Claire Beatson, Practice Manager at Middleway Surgery

Record sharing and collaborative working allowed us to provide improved patient care over this period.

Claire Beatson, Practice Manager at Middleway Surgery

Claire Beatson, Practice Manager at Middleway Surgery, explains: “Record sharing and collaborative working allowed us to provide improved patient care over this period.

“We were able to offer Saturday appointments to ‘at risk’ patients and children. We were also able to provide additional support to nursing homes. Patients appreciated the continuity of service and there is no question that the approach allowed us to provide better patient care overall. In some cases, it also meant that patients were seen earlier than they would otherwise could have been and so this meant that it reduced some GP workload on the following Mondays, freeing them up to spend more time on patient care then as well.”

Rowena Angell, Practice Manager at Lostwithiel Surgery, says: “I agree as to the effectiveness of sharing clinical cover and shared commitment to extending access for patients at weekends.  In addition to the benefit for patients having local support during weekends, the system also allowed GPs to monitor any patient they had concerns about who might otherwise result in an emergency hospital admission.   Sharing this knowledge can only be beneficial to patients and clinicians alike and access to records enhances the continuity of care that can be provided.   We are also looking to share a telephone system across the three practices to give a fully integrated service across a combined list of nearly 20,000 patients and this technology will enable us to do so with confidence.”

Paula Julian, IT Lead at Fowey River Practice, adds: “Microtest software enabled the Three Harbours Practices to offer a really good collaborative solution which delivered benefits to both patients and the three practices. This IT functionality promises many good things for the future of practices having to work increasingly closer together. With the work Microtest are delivering with GP Connect, it means that even larger groups of practices can collaborate using different clinical systems which will potentially bring even greater benefits to patients and practices alike.”

Claire concludes: “The patient record sharing worked smoothly and efficiently. The trial was so successful that we are now planning to run a second trial in the next few months to see how we can bring further benefits to both patients and the practices. We are excited about the opportunity to provide enhanced patient care whilst also streamlining GP workload through effective collaboration. The Microtest record-sharing technology is enabling us to take these steps forward.”