Picking an electronic health record system

What system should you use to manage your practice?

Picking an EHR for Private GPs

It should be simple, but now more than ever, this decision is core to any Private GP’s practice, ethos and likelihood of success.  

We write this article with a few key assumptions in mind:

  • You are a GP
  • You are looking to work in the private sector
  • You currently work (or have in the past worked) in the NHS
  • You will see UK resident patients who are registered with an NHS GP  

I just want a simple life

Almost all the patient record solutions built specifically for the private GP sector are, to some degree or other, fleshed out invoicing and payment management tools.  

Several are excellent database tools. Some even allow, via APIs or integrations, access to higher level functions, like booking tools, prescribing modules and pharmacy communication. Often the interfaces are fairly pleasing.  

But there is something missing. These systems are really customer record management systems, not electronic health records.  

What do we mean by this? While these platforms contain some data about your customers’ health and some of their health-related purchases – they are designed to manage information in a closed system, accessed only by the business owner and their team. As with any consumer facing business, this kind of customer list is something one holds jealously, as the core of the business.

What is the alternative?

Conversely, electronic health record systems support clinicians and providers who are helping to safely manage the wellbeing of the individual – these systems store, present and allow input into an individual’s health record. In the UK, a central electronic health record is held for every UK resident – this is maintained by their individual NHS GP.

Sight of and input to that national patient health record is the true marker of being a responsible element of any patient’s healthcare; which is why increasingly providers are seeking to have access to view and write-back to the centrally maintained NHS record.

But why is this relevant to me?

But as a private GP, what system should you choose? Perhaps you only need a customer record system after all, if you are operating exclusively outside of the NHS.  

The argument against this is that the growth in access to private GP services is coming from patients who are using and will continue using  both independent and NHS services. The immense growth in access to private GP care is not from people ‘leaving’ the NHS. It is from people accessing the private sector to supplement, replace for one instance, or enhance their ongoing use of NHS services.

Patients ‘dipping’ into the private sector expect that you can ‘see’ their medical record, that you can look at their medication history, that you are a part of their ongoing care – care which is perhaps still understood by them to be ‘owned’ by the NHS. We are often asked ‘why wouldn’t you be able to see my record!?’

We talk to GPs all the time who are looking to balance their work with practice within the private sector – and almost all of these GPs want to practice in the context of safe, well-informed environments. Your clinical practice will be of course safer, more clinically sound if it is informed by the patient history contained in the national record.  

Business advantage, patient expectation and clinical safety all align on this one – the case for access to the record via a true Electronic Health Record system is clear. To find out more, check out our Resources and using EMIS Web (the UK’s main Electronic Health Record) in the private sector.

Post a comment

Related news

Keep up to date with the latest private general practice news, resources and systems.

No items found.

Have a question?

Submit your question here and we'll get our experts to review

Industry news

Keep up to date with the latest private general practice news, resources and systems.

Get the Beat

Our 1-minute newsletter, delivered monthly