I use EMIS EPR Viewer whenever I clerk a patient. When I use it I pay particular attention to medications and allergies. I also check a patient’s recent consultations to try and establish if their presenting complaint is acute or something that has previously been investigated by primary care.
I find that access to EMIS EPR Viewer saves a lot of time, particularly out of hours if patients are not certain which medications they are allergic to. I also find that it is useful for reviewing height and weight.
This has proven very valuable as a lot of our medications are height/weight dependent and instead of estimating doses they are now more accurate.
There are a number of good examples of situations where EMIS EPR Viewer has made a difference in treating a patient, including:
- A patient who had a cardiac valve replaced privately at another hospital. She presented to us with back pain with new neurological symptoms. We did not know if her valve was safe for MRI. Traditionally I would have had to wait to contact the secretary of the cardiology team at the other hospital (this could have taken considerable time as I was unsure which cardiologist operated on this patient) and wait for them to pull the patient’s notes and then to fax/telephone me. Instead, I logged on to EMIS EPR Viewer and found a letter from the hospital to the GP and discovered that it was safe for this patient to proceed to MRI.
- A patient was admitted with hyponatraemia (low sodium) and was very symptomatic – agitated and confused. She did not bring any of her regular medications with her. There was no clear cause for her quick deterioration (we knew that her sodium was ‘normal’ a month ago). I checked EMIS EPR Viewer and saw that she had recently been started on a new diuretic (water tablet) and it was highly likely that this was the cause. I stopped that medication and she made a good recovery.
- A patient presented to the Emergency Department with abdominal pain. She was very erratic and her story was constantly changing. I looked at EMIS EPR Viewer and saw that her symptoms were part of her ‘health anxiety’ and that she was known to our crisis team. After excluding acute pathology I was able to refer to crisis where she received suitable treatment instead of potential radiation exposure and invasive procedures.