Graphnet has completed deployment of a new Out of Hours system that will extract demographic patient records from the majority of 96 GP practices in Gwent, South Wales.
Over 70 of the 96 GP practices in Gwent have started sharing information with the out-of-hours (OOH) service, making nearly 400,000 records available. Informing Healthcare say this equates to an individual health record for nearly one in seven people in Wales.
The Gwent OOH system has been in phased deployment since November 2006.
To give OOH healthcare staff the ability to offer the best advice to callers, Informing Healthcare – working with Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust – has devised the individual health record for use in emergency care, which is known locally as the ’emergency health record’.
If a GP consents to medical records being passed on, then medical staff can use Graphnet’s Extract software to view an individual health record, allowing them to double-check medications previously prescribed, and they can see if the patient has any allergies or adverse reactions or has visited their GP recently.
Dr Martin Murphy, Informing Healthcare’s clinical director and a practising GP, said: “The IHR in Gwent demonstrates how technology can bring improvements to the real world of clinical practice. We have worked closely with the Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, the BMA, clinicians, Community Health Councils and patients, to ensure successful delivery of this important project.”
As a first point of call, patients in Gwent needing OOH non-urgent care can call the Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust Out-Of-Hours Service. The service operates overnight from 6:30pm to 8:00am on weekdays, and right across weekends, bank holidays and other public holidays.
Informing Healthcare said: “This information helps to inform the decisions medical staff need to make, which might include things like ‘is a home visit necessary?’, ‘should the patient be referred immediately to hospital?’, or ‘should the patient’s current medication by altered or stopped?’
“All the information is held on secure NHS computers and, on each and every occasion, out-of-hours medical staff will seek the patient’s permission to view their record.”
To deliver the Gwent project Graphnet has worked in partnership with Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, The NHS Wales Business Service Centre, Adastra, and six GP system suppliers.
Graphnet is using their G-Extract software, patient information is extracted from all the major GP systems. The data is then converted and stored into XML via the Graphnet Messaging Service.
Costing just 75 pence per patient the project has proven that individual health records can be rolled out cost effectively while delivering real clinical benefit.
The Welsh health minister, Dr Brian Gibbons, said of the new system: “This new system is providing on-call medical staff with vital information at the time it is needed most, helping doctors make informed decisions and improving the safety and quality of care. It is an excellent example of working in partnership to use information and technology to deliver better, integrated services for patients and support a health service that is high quality in design, safe and effective.”
Graphnet say that so far only a very low percentage of patients have opted out of having their records shared on the system.
Andy Bratt, Graphnet’s director of operations said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to play such an important part in this exciting project. Our Extract software, document storage repository and interfaces to other 3rd party systems to connect to it securely have ensured that patient data can be accessed by the healthcare professionals that need it – when they need it.”