What is NHS GP Connect?

In business, time is money.

But in healthcare, time means something far more valuable: human life.

To deliver improvements in patient care and outcomes, clinicians need real-time access to data that gives them an accurate view of a patient’s medical history.

This is where GP Connect comes in.

To better understand the transformative impact this platform will have on the lives of patients and clinicians administering care, we took a closer look at what these changes will mean for people on the ground…

GP Connect explained

GP Connect allows authorised clinical staff to share and view GP practice clinical information and data between IT systems, quickly and efficiently.

Effectively, it bridges the gap between GP surgeries and hospitals, giving clinicians access to vital patient data when they need it most.

These measures were first introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, whereby emergency powers were exercised outlining changes to the Summary Care Record (SCR) and implementation of GP Connect.

By logging into the system, staff will be able to access all relevant patient records without having to chase individual GP surgeries.

So – what type of data will be made available through the platform?

  • Encounters e.g. hospital visits
  • Active problems and issues e.g. diagnosis
  • Allergies and adverse reactions
  • Acute and repeat medication
  • Referrals
  • Observations e.g. pulse
  • Vaccinations

GP Connect has worked closely with GP clinical system suppliers to develop specific APIs to aid the integration of this information.

The APIs they’ve built will make data from clinical systems readily available in standard form so that they can be used across various different systems at ease by clinicians who need them for direct patient care.

The benefits of GP Connect

Having better access to patient records has long been on the wish list of medical professionals.

The NHS Long Term Plan has outlined a number of changes to transform the way the NHS operates, with a particular focus on digital services.

GP Connect aims to make care quicker, more efficient and more convenient for patients, but it will also offer more secure data protection and provide clinicians with the tech solutions they need to be more effective.

It aims to completely revolutionise the way patients access healthcare, including evening and weekend appointments, as well as improving the provision of out of hours and urgent care services.

So – what do these changes mean for clinicians treating patients?

It will not only enable them to provide more informed patient care, but it will also save valuable time on performing manual administrative tasks and make patient data more secure, in line with GDPR regulations.

The platform will also be used to better manage patient appointments by making structured medications and allergy information immediately accessible for healthcare professionals.

GP Connect in action

All of this is great in theory, but how is the platform working in practice?

At Royal Papworth Hospital, patients with cystic fibrosis are already benefiting from the software, where it’s being used for better medication reaction monitoring.

Samantha Henman, lead nurse for cystic fibrosis said: “This [process] requires bloods taken either here or with their GP much closer to home, and we’re often waiting for or chasing blood results over multiple counties.

“We can now look up the results ourselves, saving our time and also the precious time of our GP colleagues across the system.”

Ultimately, this new fully-integrated system will help drive improvements in patient care, enhance collaboration between hospitals and primary care, and help save time for medical professionals.

A game-changer on the ground

GP Connect will almost certainly have a transformative impact on every healthcare professional’s ability to do their job.

However, it could prove to be an absolute game-changer for paramedics.

Unlike a GP practice or A&E department, where senior colleagues are available to call upon for assistance, paramedics are effectively on their own. And when it comes to determining a patient’s medical history, they’re solely reliant on the patient, who, more often than not, isn’t in the right frame of mind to tell them.

Before GP Connect, paramedics would have had very few options to assist them in the pursuit of more information, with calling GP surgeries proving inefficient and largely ineffective – especially out of hours.

The introduction of GP Connect has given paramedics access to a platform that will help inform the care and treatment they deliver to patients; within a few clicks they are able to obtain a full medical history of the patient in front of them, which helps them decide on the most appropriate course of action. Plus, it’s available 24/7 without delay.

Are you a healthcare organisation using GP Connect?

At 6B, we’ve partnered with countless healthcare organisations in the past to deliver integration services that help save valuable time and enable them to provide an improved level of patient care. If you could use our expertise in the sector, reach out to us today.

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