Pressure on GP resources continues to rise. Demand for appointments is now almost a third higher than pre-pandemic levels – yet a GP Online poll recently concluded there are currently 10% fewer GPs per patient than there were in 2016. Many changes are required to address this challenge, however technology can play a huge part in improving the day to day experience for clinicians.
In this blog we outline the importance of GP Connect, the NHS Digital service that allows authorised clinical staff to share and view GP practice clinical data between IT systems, and Cegedim’s commitment to supporting GP Connect within Vision 3.
GP Connect, a core strand in the GP IT Futures programme, is a multi-tier development initiative that provides a platform for essential change within primary care. GP Connect will transform the way patient data is shared across NHS Service providers, eradicating much of the time consuming tedium associated with keeping the clinical record up to date, and providing the most up to date information available at the time of consulting.
Cegedim is committed to delivering the goals of the GP IT Futures programme, which is focused on ensuring primary care meets the requirements set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and the Digital, Data and Technology Vision. GP Connect plays a major role in providing both patients and the NHS with safe and secure access to shared primary care data in real time. In addition to connecting patient care across care settings, this data also provides valuable insights which allow the NHS to strive for efficiency.
GP Connect capabilities need to be built into both GP patient record systems and IT systems used by end consumers (such as NHS 111, ambulance services and hospitals). Cegedim’s development team is working hard to support our Vision 3 customers, building on the existing functionality to provide the new features, including shared appointments and data sharing, that will ensure practices can take advantage of the benefits of GP Connect.
The programme comprises several parts, starting with GP Connect Appointments. This functionality has already been released in Vision 3 and allows practices to make appointments visible and bookable to third parties of choice – even when the practice is closed. This is supporting innovations in shared service delivery.
The delivery of GP Connect shared appointments is a key element in the evolution of primary care. The ability for practices, NHS 111, and dedicated service hubs to make patient appointments with GPs, nurses and shared services, will allow Integrated Care Systems and Primary Care Networks to move forward with further plans for shared care.
GP Connect HTML View removes constraints around treating unregistered patients. It allows the consumer to see a summary of the clinical record; this makes for safer consulting when treating a patient registered at another practice. HTML view is currently in early release phase with 50 practices. Practices are both data providers and consumers. GP Connect Access Record (FHIR) will allow practices to consume patient data sent by other practices. FHIR Transfer of Care allows GP Practices to receive discharge letters from other third party systems, such as mental health and acute hospitals.
In addition, FHIR Digital Meds allows immunisation information to be sent automatically from pharmacies to GP practices. Practices can receive notification of emergency medication supplies requested by the 111 service and dispensed by pharmacies, along with influenza vaccinations given by pharmacies. Cegedim has already completed the development work to support this within Vision 3, and we are currently working with NHS Digital on assurance prior to releasing this functionality later this year.
The next stage of the GP Connect evolution will be GP Connect Send which will allow practices to exchange consultation reports for non-registered patients. This data is shared in real time, ensuring the patient’s medical record is kept up to date, therefore improving the quality of care provided.
The provision of rapid access to shared patient information will make it much easier for practices to treat unregistered patients, introducing many more options for shared service delivery – from out of hours support to shared care. It will improve resource management, through better use of specific skills, and by reducing the onerous task of data sourcing and sharing, it will release clinicians to spend more time on patient focused tasks.
We recognise the huge pressures facing Primary Care at a time of unprecedented demand and rapid evolution. GP Connect will be an important component in supporting practices by providing the technology and information required to share services efficiently, and work more flexibly across the community. If you would like more information about Vision 3 and GP connect click below to arrange a meeting.