Clinical staff in Blackpool have been given access to GP patient data in a bid to save time and improve care.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s pharmacists, doctors and nurses now have real-time access to 300,000 patient records from 40 GP practices across the region via the Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG).

The MIG, from Healthcare Gateway, helps to plug the gaps with important primary care information such as patient demographics, diagnosis, prescriptions, risk and warnings, presented as an integrated view within the host application.

Craig Tilley, lead pharmacist, Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration said: “Before the MIG, we had numerous challenges in accessing patient data, especially out of hours or at weekends. Within the first couple of months after going live, we were having around a thousand hits a month on the MIG.

“So, if you imagine a thousand phone calls to the GP, each taking around five minutes, that’s five thousand minutes back per month. The number of hours we’re saving for pharmacies, doctors and nurses is just huge.”

The MIG is a national interoperability solution, which enables the two-way exchange of patient information between local healthcare settings. It provides real-time patient information where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Uniquely, it can provide connectivity to every UK primary care system (EMIS, TPP, INPS and Microtest).

The software solution can also quickly extend its reach to many other systems to allow access to even more patient data.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals are using the Lancashire Person Record Exchange Service (LPRES) to access records held in nearby locations.

Tilley added: “That will give us access to the MIGs not just in our locality but also south in Preston, to the east in Blackburn and Burnley, and the north in Morecambe Bay and Lancaster.

“We are already using the MIG to pull back the EPaCCS (Electronic Palliative Care Co-ordination Summary) from local practices and hopefully this will roll out across the region.

“My ideal future would have the MIG link up with the SCR (Summary Care Records) so that if patients were from out of the area and not covered by the MIG, the MIG interface would then pull back the data from the SCR and present this in a similar way.”

Other technologies being rolled out across the trust also include setting up video links between Clifton Hospital and Trinity Hospice to allow patients to access specialist care quickly.