More than 350 north-east GPs join record-sharing initiative
Vast majority of doctors in the region buy into the 'Geordie nation concept'
The vast majority of GP surgeries across the north-east of England have signed up to share patient data through a cloud-based system with 14 healthcare providers, including NHS foundation trusts, the North East Ambulance Service, and out-of-hours services.
The Great North Care Record currently involves 357 surgeries, 96% of those covered by the north east’s 10 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), allowing access to a real-time summary of their patient information when it is needed for urgent care. The system, which will eventually be used for all episodes of hospital care, requires healthcare professionals to ask patients for explicit consent for permission to view the data.
The region’s surgeries use two types of records software, provided by Emis and TTP. Both companies use centralised datacentres, rather than servers within GP practices. The Great North Care uses a secure information gateway to gain access to patient data stored on these systems.
Mark Westwood, a GP, chief clinical information officer for North Tyneside CCG and primary-care lead for the project, said the system only passes on an agreed consistent data set. It blocks access to sensitive material in areas including IVF, fertility treatment and embryology, venereal disease and sexually transmitted diseases, gender realignment, HIV/AIDS and termination of pregnancy.
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The CCG wrote to all patients who had opted out of the nationally run NHS Summary Care Record and Care.data projects, which automatically take regular extracts of everyone’s GP data, asking them to consider participating in the regional system.
The current first phase of the system does not include data from secondary-care providers, but Westwood said that primary-care data held within GP systems is the currently the “richest source of clinical data and that is what is used at the point of care”. Speaking at a round-table event organised by Dods and sponsored by Google, he added that the ambition is to make record access a patient-controlled and initiated activity.
Gerry Morrow, a non-executive director of North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, described GP records as “a continuum of care” with data covering decades of patients’ lives.
Morrow, who is also medical director of local health IT supplier Clarity Informatics, noted that hospitals use a wide range of software with data generally stored on site, making data-sharing far harder than with cloud-based systems.
He added that the north-east is a good place to set up shared regional services, as NHS staff are open to discussion and co-operation with their local colleagues: “There is this Geordie nation concept.”
'From today's legacy systems to cloud-enabled healthcare' is a series of round-table discussions taking place in Birmingham (14 March) and Bristol (20 March). If you are a CIO, CCIO or CTO from an NHS trust or CCG, and would like to join one of these engaging, informative and collaborative peer to peer discussions, please email Sophie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Organised by PublicTechnology parent company Dods, the roundtables include a complimentary lunch and are kindly supported by Google.
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