Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group is deploying a new file-sharing tool  allowing staff to access and share information remotely.

Novell Filr is a secure tool, which allows users to share files from where they were initially stored.

Pin Bhandal, head of ICT at NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group, said the ICT department had been beta testing Filr for the past three months.

The CCG planned to go fully live with the service on Tuesday, starting with CCG staff then expanding to cover GPs and other practice staff.

The potential user base was up to 900 people, but he estimated around 200-300 using it initially.

Bhandal said the Novell user group met regularly and had suggested they needed a secure file-sharing tool as some practice staff were using things like DropBox for business functions. This was against data protection regulations because the server was outside the UK.

Bexley CCG was chosen to test Filr once developed. The tool is cloud-based with the central server in the Bexley CCG headquarters.

“We wanted a solution that allowed us to access our files on the road and from home, as we have quite a mobile user base, and be able to do it securely and in a manner which is user friendly,” said Bhandal.

Novell Filr could ultimately be used by clinicians to share patient information with practice colleagues or other GPs with special interests, he added.

Staff can use an iPhone or iPad app or log into a web-browser. They can see the home user directory and shared files and can choose to share files with other users. Bhandal said this would reduce the cost of tokens to give staff mobile access to their data.