Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is sending discharge letters to GPs across eight clinical commissioning groups using PCTI’s Electronic Document Transfer Hub.

The trust’s GP Connect Programme lead Mercer Field spoke at the National Docman User Group Conference in London last month.

He said managing the many pieces of paper being sent to GPs was a huge expense and drain on resources and the aim of the programme was to set-up a paper-lite pathway.

The trust decided to use its Orion Health Rhapsody Integration Engine as its authoritative collector and validator of information at a single point.

“We decided to squeeze Rhapsody as if it could do messaging, it could move around paper,” Field explained.

PCTI’s EDT hub was chosen to be the authoritative distributor of electronic information.

The third component, a system able to receive the letters at the GP end, was already in place in the form of electronic document manager Docman.

Since starting six months ago, nearly 50,000 correspondences and discharges have been sent to GPs including A&E notifications, inpatient discharges and outpatient correspondence.

GPs at 115 practices across eight clinical commissioning group areas are now receiving letters electronically.

Field said there were instant benefits for GPs as it kept them up-to-date with their patient’s condition and treatments.

There was also a reduction in incorrect deliveries as the hub worked to validate patients and whether they were connected to the right practice.

Royal Berkshire’s plan to go paper-lite was a “hub and spoke” model, he added.

The trust now had a hub and one spoke leading to GPs. The plan was to extend those spokes to other community organisations.

Also, to look at internal referral management processes to go paper-lite within the trust.

“If we look at what’s been achieved for GPs and we can replicate that internally, there will be a lot of removal of paper,” Field explained.

A GP Round Up produced by Royal Berkshire in February says the GP Connect Programme will transform the way the trust exchanges information with GPs and replace the services in the GP Gateway.

It includes electronic test requesting for pathology and radiology for 60 GP sites using Sunquest ICE.