NHS General Practitioners (GPs) rely on detailed patient records to help them make fast, informed care decisions for as many as 34 million patients every month. So, when patients move between practices, their records need to be migrated quickly.
The NHS GP2GP record transfer service handles around 200,000 transfers between GP practices every month. The more reliably and efficiently the service can process that huge volume of transfers, the sooner GPs can start delivering better patient care.
In its efforts to continuously improve performance, find new ways to digitally support GPs and improve patient outcomes, NHS Digital identified this transfer process as an area of opportunity. By precisely identifying points of friction and resolving them proactively, the team could reduce GP practice admin workloads, accelerate the provision of care, and deliver more consistent patient experiences across England’s GP network.
From diagnosis to delivery
Managing patient records is a highly complex task. Records comprise a variety of data types, need to be used by a multitude of systems, and contain critical, sensitive information that simply can’t be misplaced or misinterpreted.
To help visualize the entire patient record management and transfer process in granular detail, and identify where the strongest opportunities for optimization were, NHS Digital engaged Thoughtworks.
We deployed a cross-functional team to lead research and discovery sessions with stakeholders from across NHS Digital and NHS England Transformation Directorate, plus a number of key GP system suppliers. Across our sessions we explored how GPs, practice staff, and NHS systems staff operate, and how the GP2GP process supports them. This helped us:
- Visualize the complex journeys of patient records throughout their lifecycle
- Identify actions that could lead to transfer delays, and eliminate them at their root cause
- Prioritize opportunities for optimization across the GP2GP process
With the project scoped, and a clear view of what users and NHS Digital stakeholders wanted from the optimized system, we began developing a dashboard using AWS-based infrastructure to help GP practices visualize GP2GP process performance. The dashboard enables GP practices and Clinical Commissioning Groups to clearly see how many transfers have taken place in their area, quickly spot any issues with ongoing transfers, and prioritize cases that require their attention.
Delivering extraordinary impact by improving experiences for patients, practices and GPs
With targeted optimizations implemented across the GP2GP record transfer process, teams across England’s GP network are supported by a robust system that processes record transfers quickly, at a very high success rate. Plus, thanks to the new dashboard, if the system does encounter a technical transfer problem, teams have the visibility they need to resolve the issue fast.
To date, we’ve seen a 65% reduction in technical issues in the GP2GP system, which means far fewer records have had to be printed and transferred manually. In the first financial year following the project, the changes led to an estimated saving of 174,000 staff hours, equating to around £2.9 million in cost savings.