There are some 9,000 GP practices in England. They each currently deal with an average 500 patient record transfers each year. Inner city and university practices deal with far more.
The process involves:
- Printing out the details of the patient health record held on the GP clinical system and then putting that print-out into the patient's 'Lloyd George' envelope, together with any historical paper records, laboratory forms, hospital referral letters and the letters that result from that referral.
- These documents are then transferred to the new practice via the local medical records transfer process.
- Upon receipt of the Lloyd George, the new practice reviews the information received, summarises the record and enters any appropriate information into their GP clinical system.
The time it takes to receive a patient record from the time it is requested can be anything from a few weeks to a few months. As a result, the new practice often does not have the benefit of the old record when the patient attends for the first consultation. Once received, it can be very time-consuming for the new practice to key in the summary of the record into its own clinical system.
GP2GP, on the other hand, enables an almost instantaneous transfer of a patient's EHR. As a result, GPs and their teams will be able to provide patients with a safer and more efficient service.
GP2GP starts when a practice accepts a patient onto its list of patients for primary health care and ends when the Electronic Health Record (EHR) is transferred from the previous practice into the new GP's clinical system.
Once the patient is accepted and his/her identity has been matched using the Personal Demographic Service (PDS) a message is sent to the previous practice requesting a copy of the patient's EHR (but only if the patient's former practice is also GP2GP-enabled).
The previous practice locates the patient and sends an acknowledgement stating whether or not it is able to provide the EHR extract.
If it is able to do so, then the EHR extract message is generated from the patient health record held on the GP clinical system and subsequently sent to the new practice for integration into its own GP clinical system.