Camden GPs slash A&E workload

02 Jul 2015

GPs are slashing the A&E workload at one of London’s busiest hospitals thanks to joined-up technology that is enabling them to send home more than 26,000 patients a year.

An Urgent Care Centre at the Royal Free Hospital’s A&E department is using integrated clinical IT system EMIS Web to carry out rapid assessments on 50% of the 71,818 patients who present annually for emergency care between 10am-10pm. Aided by vital information from the GP record, they are now able to discharge half of these patients at the front door with basic health advice. Forty per cent of the remainder are directed to their own doctor, or a GP-staffed urgent care centre (UCC) for further investigation and treatment. Only 10% of assessed patients are sent on to the main emergency department.

The UCC, open from 10 am to 10pm, is run by Haverstock Healthcare, a federation of all 37 GP practices in Camden, representing over 255,000 registered patients. The federation believes that by other clinicians treating over 40% of patients attending the Royal Free Hospital’s A&E, emergency doctors and nurses can focus their efforts on the most unwell patients, reducing waiting times and improving the overall quality of care.

Haverstock Healthcare’s medical director Dr Mike Smith said: “All of the GP practices in Camden use EMIS Web, and we also have it in A&E. This means that when patients arrive at the door, we are able to check their medical history with their consent, and make fully informed clinical decisions. Without their notes, there is a risk of starting patients on a care journey that is not needed. For example, we are ordering fewer x-rays and blood tests than our emergency colleagues at other hospitals. EMIS Web helps make our job less time-consuming and enables us to work more effectively.

“when patients arrive at the door, we are able to check their medical history with their consent, and make fully informed clinical decisions”

Dr Mike Smith, medical director, Haverstock Healthcare

“The majority of patients we see do not get sent back to their own GP. We send them home with written information on self-care, or to a pharmacist. The website patient.info is a significant resource, as it empowers patients by providing them with information about their condition and how to manage it at home. We keep a stock of its leaflets printed out and ready.”

Dr Smith said the next step in joined-up care was to enable EMIS Web to send an e-discharge letter to patients’ own GPs, providing them with timely and accurate information about their patients visit to A&E.

Matt Murphy, EMIS Health managing director for primary care and commissioning said: “We work hand in hand with clinicians to develop the technology that helps them to offer new models of care like this. We are proud to see it helping Camden GPs to deliver tangible improvements in patient care.”