EMIS Web unlocks potential for local cardiology service

We spoke to one local cardiology service about their decision to move to their own instance of EMIS Web, resulting in improved patient safety and service resilience.

The Community Cardiology Service (TCCS) was set up to manage non-emergency referrals in the former Eastbourne, Hailsham & Seaford CCG area (now part of East Sussex CCG). The service is led by a team of GPs with Special Interest in Cardiology (GPwSI) who, before COVID, saw patients in small, patient-friendly primary care settings. Serving around 20 GP practices in their local area, the service aims to keep patients out of hospital by offering timely, high quality care closer to home.

The need for independence

Since 2015, the admin team have been based in a local GP practice, where they shared the practice’s instance of EMIS Web. This presented a number of limitations, such as accessing patient records when referred in from other local practices, reporting on their own data, and booking from a range of appointment types.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, managing cardiac patients in the community became more essential than ever; hospitals were anticipating unprecedented pressure, and patients were scared to leave their homes. The need to work remotely and operate independently was crucial, and TCCS moved quickly to commission their own EMIS system.

“The whole point about having our own standalone EMIS system was to make us more robust as a service, to enable us to be independent and stand on our own two feet.”

Jules Causton, General Manager, The Community Cardiology Service

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of patient consultations their service delivers have been carried out by phone or video, to limit the risk of spreading the virus. Providing remote consultations, and fitting heart monitors at home have enabled the team to see patients and keep them off hospital waiting lists. The rapid transformation of this service delivery model earned TCCS a place on the shortlist for the HSJ Award Community Provider of the Year.

Dedicated support and customised training

From order to go live, TCCS were up and running on their new instance of EMIS Web within just a few weeks. EMIS Clinical Software Trainer Geoff O’Brien worked closely with the team to understand their needs and objectives and customise their training to suit.

“Geoff was brilliant. Once he understood what I needed, he came up with a plan.”

Jackie Woods, Office Manager, The Community Cardiology Service

Geoff delivered two days on site training every week over the course of three weeks, broken down into system build, training and go live. Working closely with the team, Geoff helped to build out reports that would give the service the ability to query their data and access information such as tracking referral to treatment times (RTT).

“My main concern was losing templates and things like that, but it was so much easier than I thought. Geoff took us through everything – the bits that were really new he ironed out for us and made it really straightforward.”

Jackie Woods, Office Manager, The Community Cardiology Service

Unlocking potential with EMIS Web

The transition to their own standalone EMIS Web instance has made a huge impact on the service; improving patient safety, enhancing the quality of consultations, supporting service resilience and the potential for growth.

“Setting up the data sharing agreement makes it so much quicker, efficient and above all safer for our doctors when they’re triaging their patients.”

Jules Causton, General Manager, The Community Cardiology Service

With a data sharing agreement now in place, local GP practices can refer patients within EMIS, improving the safety, quality and efficiency of the service for patients, and making it easier for GPs to refer and monitor their patient’s journey. With access to records, TCCS doctors are able to better understand each patient’s full medical history including pre-existing conditions, allergies and medication. In having access to this information, they’re reducing delays in the patient journey and preventing patients from undergoing repeat investigations. This efficiency reduces administrative burdens for both GP practices and TCCS, and helps meet Green NHS targets, thanks to a reduction in paper.

No longer reliant upon someone else’s instance of EMIS Web, the TCCS team are now able to work remotely, meaning they can continue to operate even if the office has to close. It also means that staff members can work from home if they need to self-isolate or look after a dependent.

Enabling remote working is also opening up opportunities for the service to grow. Where recruitment of Cardiology GPwSIs was previously limited to local applicants, they’re now able to employ GPwSIs further afield to conduct remote consultations with patients.

Clinician feedback

Dr Matt Jackson, GPwSI Cardiology and Director of Integrated Cardiology Solutions gave us his view on how EMIS Web has unlocked potential for TCCS:

“The ability for our doctors to view a referred patient’s full care record via EMIS data sharing is probably the most important benefit of having our own EMIS system. The information a doctor gets from a remote consultation is limited compared with seeing a patient face-to-face: we can’t examine them for a start or get an overall impression of their current state of health by observation. Therefore we rely on what the patient tells us, but patients tend to provide significantly less information about themselves over the phone or video than they would face-to-face. Being able to see their complete care record and medical history helps us to fill in some of the blanks and to ask the right questions to make a robust diagnosis.”

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