GPs are now able to see their patients’ COVID-19 test results, as the results are being sent to GP systems. Communication is also being sent to the patient directly.
All patients who have registered to use online patient services are able to access their GP medical records, including their COVID-19 tests. The NHS Business Service Authority notifies patents through these platforms as and when the test results are made available.
The test results will be distinguishable from any other laboratory tests to make it clearer to the patient. The messaging of administrative and clinical data is made possible with the new data flow that is being provided by EMIS Health’s Keystone product. 95% of GP surgeries now have dataflow wing into their systems, and the remaining 5% will also soon be made available.
All past and future tests will be linked to the recipient’s NHS number and will be shared as part of this initiative.
Although there may be a delay in the communication of the result to the patient by NHS BSA and GP systems receiving the results, it will be very near to real-time data. The communication of the results will apply to all home-testing kits as well as testing done at centres that have been booked on nhs.uk/coronavirus or gov.uk portals
Time and resources are being spared as patients will receive their results via text message or email. The GP practice won’t have to contact them with their results, and guidance on how to move forward will also be provided through the notification system such as isolation protocol, symptoms and also links to national guidance. It will not be necessary for patients to contact their GP practice, as all the information will have already been sent to them.
Richard Ashcroft, programme director at NHS Digital, said: “We have worked quickly to ensure this technology can be put in place so that GPs are kept informed about coronavirus tests being undertaken by their patients, while making sure it is done simply, with as little additional admin for GP practice staff as possible. We would like to thank EMIS Health for working with us to deliver this at speed using their Keystone product.
“Many patients would regard it as a given that their test results should automatically appear in their GP medical record, but the technological work behind the scenes with a brand new system such as that delivering the testing programme is considerable.”
Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at EMIS Health, said: “Technology has played a pivotal role in the response to COVID-19 across the board and keeping the medical record up to date with COVID-19 test results means everyone who can share that record has a full picture of the patient’s health, including the patient themselves via Patient Access.
“This will not only help day to day patient care, and it will also help on a wider population health level, as data-led insight relies on full and complete medical records as analysts continue to research COVID-19 and its short- and long-term impact on the nation.”