COVID-19 Response

19 Nov 2021

As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure we can offer patients, users and the NHS the best response possible to assist them in managing the evolving Coronavirus situation we have pulled together a summary of our response to date.

For the latest COVID-19 user guides and resources, click below.

LATEST COVID-19 USER GUIDES

COVID-19 vaccinations

From December 2020, Outcomes4Health, by EMIS Group company Pinnacle, provided a national point of care vaccination system, which was ready by day one of the vaccination programme and for the first seven months was the only system available for use. It has been used by all healthcare professionals delivering vaccinations outside hospital settings to capture immunisation details at the point of care and share this with GPs and the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS).

The interoperability with NIMS meant that crucial vaccination status information is shared with GP records and patients via the NHS App or Patient Access and we have developed new functionality to allow automated filing of vaccination data.

To date, Outcomes4Health has been deployed in almost 1,400 vaccination centres and has supported over 66 million vaccinations as well as underpinning the NHS daily reporting on vaccination take-up.

An FAQs on how we're supporting the vaccine programme can be found on EMIS Now EMIS Now.

Primary Care

EMIS Web

COVID-19 vaccinations

To support the COVID-19 vaccinations, we have provided a suite of searches, templates, alerts and protocols to help you manage your patient population as well as a series of webinars to find out how to make the best use of the tools provided.

We have also facilitated higher demand on our searching and reporting functionality at a local and national level as part of the vaccination programme.

Creation and release of COVID-19 codes

Working closely with the NHS Digital terminology service and all other GP Suppliers to ensure consistency of terms being used across the UK, national codes have been created to support the care and tracking of patients during the outbreak. 

Release of searches to identify suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections

We have released a suite of searches to identify suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections. Available to all EMIS Web organisations in England and Wales. Released as both Read v2 and SNOMED CT versions, searches have been fully mapped to Read v2, meaning that Enterprise Search & Reports organisations which have not yet been migrated to SNOMED CT will still be able to use these searches with complete accuracy.

Alert protocol and template release - Identifying and tracking potential COVID-19 infections

A new EMIS Library alert protocol and clinical template has been released, designed to support the care and tracking of patients displaying influenza-like symptoms who may recently have travelled abroad. If this alert displays for a patient, a quick template can be launched that will allow any symptoms, recent travel history, and whether any further action relating to a potential or confirmed COVID-19 infection is required.

Supporting hot and cold clinics with EMIS Web

Take a look at how EMIS Web for Clinical Services can support the varied needs of local primary care systems in delivering hot and cold clinics, with our explanatory animation. 

Configuration for NHS 111 COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS)

To enable you to set up triage lists for the new NHS 111 CCAS using GP Connect functionality, take a look here.

Best practice prescribing during COVID-19

Take a look at this page to find out how paperless prescribing can help alleviate pressure for GP surgeries at this time.

Using the Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS) during COVID-19

EPS enables prescriptions to be sent electronically to a patient’s nominated pharmacy, allowing patients to pick up their medication directly without the need to visit their GP practice. During this crisis, EPS can help reduce exposure to COVID-19 for both patients and practice healthcare professionals. Find out more here.

Working with NHS Digital on COVID-19 Insights

We've continued to work with NHS Digital on coronavirus insights, including an automated search tool to give GPs a list of all patients potentially at high risk from COVID-19, complete with alerts. 

Supporting our partners

We have worked closely with several of our partners who have created innovative solutions to support the NHS to ensure they integrate and interact efficiently with EMIS Web and our suite of products.

Supporting remote working

Visit our dedicated page for more information on remote working solutions.

Video Consult available for free in England

In response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic we enabled Video Consult free of charge for all EMIS Web GP practices in England for a period of time during the height of the pandemic. Video Consult is an integrated feature of EMIS Web that allows practices to hold video consultations with patients via Patient Access. As current national guidance includes measures such as avoiding close contact with people who are unwell and self-isolation for those with a high temperature or new continuous cough, Video Consult offers practices a way to consult with patients from their own home. 

Online Consult available for free in Scotland

To help Scottish practices manage patient demand during the pandemic, we also enabled our Online Consult solution for free. This system allows Scottish GPs to triage patients before they arrive at the practice, helping them to manage potential coronavirus cases, whilst ensuring face-to-face appointments are managed safely and speedily. The system is also helpful for non COVID-19 related cases, and enables practices to manage workloads efficiently by directing patients to the most appropriate avenue for care. 

Reducing pressures in primary care

Online Consult

We’ve added a new patient-facing form relating to COVID-19 queries into Online Consult topics. Patients who are concerned that they may be at risk of having contracted COVID-19, or who have any queries about COVID-19, can complete this form online. The information makes it clear that patients should not attend their GP surgery, and also gives clear information of the circumstances in which they should seek help and what they should do. This reduces the number of patients requesting appointments, as well as the number of phone calls coming through to practices. 

Community pharmacy

Pharmacy bundle

We're offered a bundle of three products, Medicines Manager, My Local Pharmacy and Constant Connect, for free to help community pharmacies during this crisis. Visit our dedicated page for more information on our community pharmacy solutions. 

Patient Access for Professionals

To assist pharmacists in delivering services to patients we enabled free video consultations for pharmacists via Patient Access for Professionals.

This enabled pharmacists to set up consultation services for patients in their area and continue to serve their local community without requiring patients to come out of isolation.

Urgent and Emergency Care

Symphony

We're conscious that emergency departments may require help in dealing with patient flow. We've created a page on EMIS Now that outlines simple suggestions to help identify, visualise, track and manage patients passing through the emergency department.

Medicines Management in Hospitals

Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (ePMA)

During these times when infection control is so important, our ePMA system helps to reduce the use of difficult to clean paper drug charts from hospitals, whilst supporting remote working. Take a look here for our suggestions on how to maximise functionality within the ePMA system to help during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Patient facing information and support

Patient Access

Patient Access is regularly updated to reflect the latest COVID-19 guidance. We've created coronavirus symptom checker tool aligned with NHS 111 guidance which has been used more than 700,000 times.

The Patient Access app also integrates with video consult to enable video consultations with patients. Patients can order repeat prescriptions via EPS using Patient Access, eliminating the need to visit their GP practice, thereby reducing pressures and reducing the risk of exposure to the virus. 

We have supported an increase of registered use from 8.4 million in 2020 to 12 million by February 2021 and introduced new functionality to allow users to view their vaccination status within the Patient Access app. 

Patient Info

Patient Info is a regularly updated library of reliable, clinically authored content and we've created a dedicated coronavirus hub for all the latest articles and guidance which has had over 7.1 million views. 

Understanding Total Triage

We’ve put together a free animation for GP practices, which helps explain to patients how care can be accessed during COVID-19. With many changes to the way primary care services are delivered at this time, this video helps encourage patients to continue to seek medical attention where required, as well as outlining the total triage model in simple terms. You can download this patient animation today via EMIS Now.

GP Websites (delivered via EMIS content management system)

Provide functionality for GP surgeries to provide live updates to their website with latest Covid-19 information and guidance.

My Local Pharmacy

With My Local Pharmacy, patients can manage their repeat prescription requests and receive push notifications on progress. The mobile app can be downloaded on the patient's smartphone or tablet device. 

Business Continuity

EMIS Group has an extensive business continuity plan to ensure that all of our systems will continue to be available as normal in the event of needing to close one or more of our sites, either as a precaution or in the event that a member/members of staff test positive for coronavirus. EMIS Group/EMIS Health holds the BSI Business Continuity Management ISO22301 certificate and has detailed plans in place for every business area.

In the event that have cause to deploy our business continuity plans, support services will remain available via the existing channels, with the primary route being our online support portal, EMIS Now

In the event that business continuity plans are deployed, regular customer updates will be provided via EMIS Now.

Research and Insights

We're collaborating with academic partners to recruit practices using EMIS Health systems into specific COVID-19 research programmes to evaluate new treatments and vaccinations. 

We have facilitated the use of Explorer, from our EMIS-X Analytics suite, by:

  • a number of NHS organisations for use cases including a Covid-19 data intelligence hub and winter operational planning
  • the NHS England OpenSAFELY Covid-19 research project, a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and system suppliers operating under direction from the Secretary of State; and
  • the Oxford Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre, to support national surveillance of Covid-19 and for recruitment into the University of Oxford's PRINCIPLE clinical trial

Qsurveillance Update - Near real-time surveillance which collects, analyses and reports on rates of infectious diseases

Qsurveillance has been updated to include new COVID-19 codes created to allow effective tracking and analyses of infection rates.

Looking after our people

Our business continuity measures not only ensure we can continue to deliver services to our customers, but also that we take good care of our people. We worked quickly to set up our people to work remotely and supported our key workers that were required to visit customer sites during lockdown with appropriate safety training and equipment.

We have established procedures for any cases of self-isolation to help protect their health and wellbeing and we have now enabled our colleagues to safely return to our redesigned offices for collaborative working alongside remote working.

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