EMIS EPR Viewer helps half a million patients benefit from Bristol record sharing project

02 Apr 2013

A&E doctors are now able to provide safer emergency care round the clock to some 500,000 patients across the Bristol area – thanks to a secure electronic record sharing agreement with 50 local GP practices.

The Patient Record Network (PRN) enables A&E doctors to view patient records within minutes via EMIS’ EPR Viewer, which makes key information from the patient’s GP record available to other clinicians. They previously relied on phoning or faxing GP practices for patient vital information, with no access outside surgery opening hours. GPs believe it could save patients’ lives.

The initiative is the result of local collaboration between ‘GP Care’ – a Bristol based organisation set up by GPs – and acute hospitals serving South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset, including the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Frenchay Hospital.

Roger Tweedale, Chief Executive of GP Care, said: “GP Care is a consortium of local GPs that pool ideas and budgets to improve patient care. Enabling GPs and local secondary care providers to share patient records was top of our wish list. Using EMIS’ EPR Viewer we have achieved this - slashing admin time to ensure treatment can be administered quickly, safely and far more efficiently.”

Dr Simon Odum, an ED consultant at North Bristol NHS Trust, has witnessed the initiative’s life-saving potential first hand.

He reported: “We had a patient collapse in the hospital grounds. He was having a CVE (cerebrovascular event) and we couldn’t understand his speech enough to gain a medical and drug history. He was a candidate for Stroke Thrombolysis and because we were able to view his full details via the PRN, we were able to recognise this, understand his current medication, and treat him immediately. Delay in such treatment would have worsened a positive outcome significantly.”

The PRN has a robust security and governance framework that gives both patients and GPs control over who accesses patient records, and meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act.

GP practices - who are all using the EMIS Web clinical system - have ‘real time’ control over which local NHS organisations can access their patients’ records, and patients provide explicit consent at the point of care before any clinician can access their health record.

GP Care collaborates with GP practices to monitor use of the system, using EMIS Web’s integral audit trail functionality and random testing. It also ensures records are shared on a ‘need to know’ basis – for example ward pharmacists have access to medication records only, while consultants have a full view of the patient’s medical history.

Roger Tweedale continued: “Key to our success is that records are shared locally, not nationally. Patients understand why giving the local A&E team the ability to quickly access their full medical record is useful and potentially life-saving.”

The PRN is currently a ‘view only’ system, but GP Care is working to support further integration of primary and secondary care in the wider Bristol area.