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Data sharing pilot in West Cornwall

27th May 2014

Eight practices in West Cornwall are to trial a data sharing scheme using Microtest's Guru. It will allow emergency access of patients' GP records to A&E clinicians and local out-of-hours GPs.

Cornwall beachThe trial will last for 12 months, with quarterly audits taking place to adapt to feedback and, if successful, continue beyond the trial.

Abuse worries

The NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), responsible for the trial, are aware of the concerns about information governance and patient content, and spent nine months developing an agreement for all the practices. The doctors will all receive training before they are allowed to log on and use the service.

Penzance GP, Dr Matthew Boulter, is leading the project on behalf of the local CCG. He believes, "the more information you’ve got, the better decisions you can make."

The decision to begin the trial came from the frustration of local GPs who felt patients were being admitted to hospital unnecessarily, and believed increased information sharing could have an enormous benefit on the care provided.

Standards of procedure

Practice managers will get a weekly summary, including which patients' records have been accessed, by whom and why - to ensure no abuse of the system is taking place.

Each practice is able to dictate how much information it shares.

Microtest's Guru system will have a consent screen that asks the user to confirm whether the patient has given their expressed permission for data to be shared.

If the pilot is successful, Boulter said the CCG might look to extend the new powers to ambulance services, Macmillan nurses and others who could benefit from the data sharing.


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