Patient care in Stockport has received a boost for efficiency thanks to a new way of sharing information between community services and GP surgeries.
Patient medical records and other key data can now be shared far more quickly and easily between Stockport NHS Foundation Trust’s community services and local surgeries, following a joint project to make separate IT and data systems fully compatible with one another.
GP surgeries and community services such as district nursing can now, where appropriate, share information on areas such as past conditions and medication needs of their joint patients, allowing for more joined-up care and reducing any possibility of errors. Patient information sharing will also lower the administrative workload of both community nurses and practice staff, making for greater efficiency all around.
After being successfully trialled between the Cheadle, Gatley and Heald Green district nurses and local GP surgeries of Cheadle Medical Practice, Gatley Medical Centre, Heald Green Health Centre, the shared EMIS (Egton Medical Information System) is now in use across the Stockport area.
The project has been led by Paul Gaskin, Electronic Patient Record Manager at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, with significant input and close collaboration from colleagues across the trust including information governance, training and patient record teams. They have been working closely with the Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group, Stockport Local Medical Committee, local GP surgeries and other front line professionals, enhancing partnership working across trust and primary care services in the area.
Louise Ball clinical EMIS lead for Community District Nursing, and Service Team Lead for the Cheadle, Gatley and Heald Green district nurses at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said:
The new system is a huge help to our daily work. To take just one example, during the current flu season we can tell straight away if a patient has had their vaccination rather than having to contact their surgery. We can see straight away what medication has already been prescribed, what dose and when the last drug was ordered.
“With live data like this at our finger-tips we know much more about the patient at the first point of contact, and they don’t have to keep telling us the same information over again. This is easier for the patient and gives us the background knowledge we need to provide the compassionate care which they deserve.”
Dr Viren Mehta, GP at Cheadle Medical practice said:
The ability to share information in real time with our community services has been so helpful to both staff and patients, especially over the Covid pandemic. For example, our district nurses can now take a photo of a wound they are looking after, upload it onto their record, and send us a secure message to ask a GP to look at the photos and decide if further treatment is needed. We can now even do a video call between the GP, district nurse and the patient to discuss what treatment is necessary and send a prescription electronically to the pharmacy.
“In the past, it may have waited until the next working day before a GP could visit to look at the wound and we would have to fax requests between each other. It has meant that patients get better care and we can all work more efficiently and effectively.”
The new joint working has been launched in memory of Brinnington GP Dr Alan Gilman, a leading figure in local primary care IT community who first introduced the EMIS system 20 years ago, and who passed away earlier this year.
Image: GP Dr Viren Mehta (L) and district nurse lead Louise Ball (R)