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EMIS : 30 April, 2009  (Special Report)
FOCUS ZONE REPORT – GP system supplier EMIS has laid out the schedule for deployment of the company’s, the next generation clinical system, EMIS Web.
EMIS anticipates that the system is likely to recieve NHS Connecting for Health assurance approval by September or October 2009 and from that timeframe EMIS Web will be available for full use by GPs.

The web-based system is going to be made available to the NHS in three releases.

Release one, which runs in parallel to existing GP systems and offers a read-only view, has already been installed in more than 1,400 practices.

Release two, which offers read-write access in a non-GP environment, is being used in about seven locations across the country, including Liverpool, Tower Hamlets in London, Cheshire and Gateshead.

Release three is scheduled to begin CfH’s Common Assurance Process testing in late May 2009. The read-write release will include the latest CfH functionality for the Summary Care Record, Choose and Book, release two of the Electronic Prescription Service and GP2GP.

EMIS is looking to give practices install dates into late October because the company is confident EMIS Web will be fully assured by then and be available under the GP Systems of Choice contract as a level four hosted application.

EMIS is replicating the CfH testing cycle internally before submitting EMIS Web for external testing.

The 1,400 practices that had already installed release one will be able to switch over to using EMIS Web at their own pace. Latest CfH functionality such as release two of the SCR and release two of EPS will first be made available via EMIS Web.

The latest CfH modules will be first available on EMIS Web and EMIS plans to wait and see what the appetite and time period is for practices to move fully to EMIS Web.

Release two of EMIS Web is already being used in a wide variety of non-GP services including physiotherapy, learning disabilities, clinical assessment services, diabetes, Ultrasound and ophthalmology.

EMIS is is currently waiting the final announcement of CfH’s contractual negotiations with CSC and BT and is looking to ‘dovetail ‘with local service providers’ plans.

Meanwhile NHS Connecting for Health has recently published detailed guidance on release two of the Electronic Prescription Service.

The 70 page document provides information on how each of the business processes involved in release two will work.

The information includes nomination, electronic cancellation of prescriptions, use of prescription and dispensing tokens, electronic repeat dispensing and electronic submission of reimbursement claims.

The guidance applies to the 17 initial implementer sites for EPS release two, which have been authorised in NHS directions to issue electronic prescriptions. It points out that, at first, only prescriptions sent to a nominated pharmacist or dispenser can be signed and sent electronically.

The guidance explains how GPs and other prescribers will be able to apply electronic signatures to prescription messages, a potentially time-saving boon for practices, and when paper copies of electronic prescriptions, known as ‘tokens’, will need to be made available by the GP or pharmacist.

Where there is no paper document flow, the information traditionally included on the right-hand side of a paper prescription will be passed electronically from prescriber to dispenser.

In the initial implementation phase, it has been agreed that the pharmacist will then be responsible for passing on that information – which includes items such as review dates and medication-specific information - to the patient.

The guidance states: “Dispensing staff will not be required, as part of the provision of EPS, to pass on non-clinical information linked to the services offered by another provider, for example practice hours or an advertisement for a flu clinic; however, they may provide this information in other ways, such as signposting.”

The guidance also covers electronic repeat dispensing which aims to deliver improvements over the existing paper-based system as practices will no longer need to print multiple paper batch issues.

The guidance explains how patient nomination of a pharmacist or other dispenser will work and how patients can set or change their nomination at either their practice or pharmacy. It says that, in time, patients will be able to use HealthSpace to set their own nomination.

Other sections in the guidance cover cancelling an electronic prescription and electronic submission of reimbursement endorsements.

No GP or pharmacy system is yet compliant for release two of EPS, although some suppliers are predicting they will receive accreditation in the next month or two, according to CfH’s website. TPP is expected to be the first GP system to receive accreditation.
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