Early adopter of Electronic Document Transfer system claims patient benefits and plans for further growth
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is now sending 2.5 million documents a year through the national Electronic Document Transfer (EDT) system, the service delivery manager has said.
David Marsden has reported that there has been a steady growth in the use of the service since NHSGGC became one of the first adopter in February 2012, saying it now accounts for a significant proportion of the 12 million documents expected to be transferred across Scotland in 2015.
“Benefiting the patient has always been the key driver behind the EDT project,” he said. “It has been incredibly well received by GPs, who now have the information they need to carry out necessary interventions and deliver results and feedback to patients much faster.
“This is already shown by a significant reduction in the amount of queries from GPs to hospitals to find out details on the care or treatment a patient has received.”
NHS Scotland first signed up to the national deployment of the EDT system in 2011, so that all hospitals across the country could send correspondence digitally to GPs.
AT NHSGGC, correspondence is created digitally and is collected electronically twice each day to fit with working practices. Documents are then placed into the health board’s Docman Hub, which sends the document directly to the GP on the same day it is collected.
The document arrives as an image file with accompanying metadata, such as the patient’s forename, surname, unique Community Health Index (CHI) number. It is accompanied by the date of the document and clinical event, and originating information such as the organisation name, department, and specialty. This allows correspondence to be filed automatically and accurately into Docman GP, a software system already used at every surgery in the area to allow GPs to review electronic letters.
Marsden said the health board’s EDT implementation partner Microtech had previously rolled out the Docman GP software to all the surgeries in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, which gave NHSGGC an advantage when it came to implementation.
It now has sharing arrangements in place with five other health boards, including Highland, Ayrshire & Arran, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley and Golden Jubilee National Hospital.
The ultimate aim is to connect all health boards across the country, which will enable hospitals to deliver information electronically to GP surgeries outside of their area.
At present, NHSGGC sends between 4,000 and 5,000 documents electronically in this way each month, and expects the number to increase as more sharing agreements are signed.
In the meantime, a digital mailroom has been created to cover those health boards that for the time being remain outside of sharing agreements. This allows documents to be printed in instances where electronic transfer is not possible and also caters for patients from other parts of the UK.