Electronic Patient Records
General Practice Extraction Services - GPES
General practice records enable doctors to provide their patients with the care they need. But they are also the closest thing that we have in the NHS to a comprehensive lifelong record of a patient’s health and the treatment they receive. As such they are a very valuable source of information, providing the potential for the NHS to learn more about the health needs of the population, and how best to address those needs. The General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) will be able to unlock that potential, but for it to succeed, patients and doctors must trust that the confidentiality of patient records is properly protected. As recent guidance published by the General Medical Council sets out1: ‘Patients have a right to expect that information about them will be held in confidence by their doctors. Confidentiality is central to trust between doctors and patients. Without assurances about confidentiality, patients may be reluctant to give doctors the information they need in order to provide good care’.
The GPES Information Governance Principles paper sets out the commitments proposed by the NHS Information Centre to safeguard the confidentiality of information in patients’ records. All requests for information made to GPES will be approved by an Independent Advisory Group which will check conformance to these Principles. A fundamental principle is that information extracted will be anonymised wherever possible. Where this is not possible, a legal justification will be necessary. However, patients who remain concerned despite these safeguards will be able to opt out of GPES.
The Information Governance Statement of Compliance (IGSoC)
The Information Governance Statement of Compliance (IGSoC) is the procedure by which organisations enter into an agreement with Health and Social Care Information Centre to obtain access to its services. The process includes completing the IG Toolkit, which is an online system that allows NHS organisations and partners to assess themselves against Department of Health Information Governance policies and standards. It also allows members of the public to view participating organisations' IG Toolkit assessments.
The process is completed once and compliance is reconfirmed through the annual submission to the Information Governance Toolkit.
You may also find some of the following useful:
- Good Practice Guidance on Electronic Patient Notes, Version 4, 2011
- Joint Statement (BMA/CfH) on Protecting Electronic Patient Information
- IG Toolkit
- IG Toolkit Training
New GPSoC Framework
Since 2007 GP Systems of Choice (GPSoC) framework has successfully funded the provision of GP clinical IT systems in GP practices. At present, 81% of GP practices use a system provided through the framework.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is currently procuring a new GPSoC framework, and we expect the Lot 1 contracts to be awarded at the end of March 2014.