Primary care IT supplier EMIS and secondary care supplier System C have announced that University Hospital Aintree has gone live with a system to give its urgent care clinicians access to information held in GP systems.

The companies claim the project is the first in the UK to link to different primary and secondary care systems on this scale.

Clinicians across the hospital’s urgent care services – not just those working in A&E – will be given access to information from 100 GP practices.

The information will be held in EMIS’ next generation system, EMIS Web, but the clinicians will access it from the Medway suite of administrative and clinical systems used by the hospital.

Tony McDonnell, associate director of informatics at University Hospital Aintree, told E-Health Insider the project would give clinicians access to key information, such as allergies, medications and results.

“It is a quick view to confirm what the patient is saying. We hope it will speed up the time it takes to get treatment and reduce the number of tests we have to carry out.”

The project is an extension of the Liverpool Interoperability Programme being run by Liverpool Primary Care Trust, which has already established access to relevant information in GP systems for staff working in 13 primary and community services.

At a recent conference in the city, the PCT outlined how this was helping it to reduce hospital beds by moving services into three neighbourhood health centres and 22 that house GPs and other primary care services.

The conference also heard that the programme will underpin the city’s Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention agenda by helping it to streamline nine patient pathways, reducing waste and improving patient satisfaction in the process.

At Aintree, the hope is that giving urgent care clinicians access to information held in primary care will reduce the time they spend looking for medication information and reduce duplicate tests.

A second phase of the project at the hospital will streamline the discharge process and allow electronic discharge summaries to be sent back into GP systems. MacDonnell said: “We see this as the first step. We would like to give GPs access to information held in hospital systems, as well.”

Kate Warriner, deputy director of IM&T at Liverpool Primary Care Trust, said: “We kicked this off before Christmas, so we have got this live in under six months. We have been lucky to be able to work with two suppliers willing to do this.

“It is really the first time a big primary care suppliers and a big acute supplier have worked together to present their information as one record in this way.”

A sharing agreement and a sharing agreement support the project. Patients must consent to information sharing and the system requires clinicians to confirm that consent has been obtained.

Opinion and analysis: Read more about the work being done in Liverpool in the All Together Now feature in the Opinion and Analysis section.