Out of hours clinicians in Gwent are to have access to an emergency summary care record in a project which is expected to eventually cover the whole of Wales.
The Emergency Health Record (EHR) to be used in Gwent from this month closely mirrors the emergency care summary project in Scotland as well as elements of a project in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which allow out of hours doctors access to an extract from GP records, subject to patient consent.
So far 70% of the 97 GP practices in Gwent have agreed to take part in the project which has the potential to cover more than 400,000 records in Gwent. A spokesperson for Informing HealthCare (IHC), the national IT programme in Wales which has funded the project, told EHI Primary Care said another 20% of practices had legitimate business reasons which had meant they had not been able to join the project from the start while less than 10% wanted to wait and see how the project progressed before taking part.
The EHR will be extracted from GP records’ every day and will contain the patient’s name, address and contact details, current medication, allergies and adverse reactions plus current problems or diagnoses.
GP clinical systems involved in the project include iSOFT, INPS, EMIS, Healthy Software, Exeter and BlueBay. The technology behind the data extract is provided by Graphnet Health, the same company that was used to create the Clinical Data Repository in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Access to the EHR in Gwent could eventually be extended from out-of-hours clinicians to other settings such as accident and emergency departments, subject to evaluation, as well as being taken up by the rest of Wales.
The IHC spokesperson added: “It will be down to local level as to when it would best suit the relevant trusts to implement our various service improvement projects but the benefits of this project speak for themselves so we do see it as a Wales-wide solution.”
The key difference between the approach in Wales and Scotland and the Department of Health’s (DH) Summary Care Record plans for England is that in Wales and Scotland records can only be accessed by out-of-hours medical staff with the patient’s explicit consent. The DH model is based on implicit consent.
Gwent GP Dr David Grant is among those supporting the creation of the EHR.
He said: “It is an important step forward that will help us to ensure the quality and safety of care given and received on any day of the week and at all times of the day and night.”
Dr Brendan Boylan, who works for Gwent Out of Hours Service, said the EHR would give out of hours doctors and nurses access to vital health information.
He added:m "This will help selected clinical staff to provide clinically safe treatment in a timely fashion. Patients demand and deserve no less, particularly when they are at their most vulnerable in an urgent situation."
The launch is supported by leaflets outlining to the process that will take place before records are accessed and the right of patients to opt-out from having their data extracted from their GPs’ records.
The spokesperson for IHC said the programme was currently developing a strategy which would provide a roadmap to show how different elements of the IHC Programme would be implemented in different areas and how funding would be tied in. She said IHC hope to get Welsh Assembly approval for the strategy by the end of the financial year.