EPaCCS: electronic systems that help to improve patient care
by Peter Nightingale Marie Curie/RCGP National Clinical Lead for End of Life Care
A recent snapshot of GPs views on the use of EPaCCS – electronic systems that enable the sharing of information on patients in the last years of life – further strengthens the evidence that awareness of these systems is low. So we need to redouble our efforts in raising awareness among GPs of what they are, what they can do, the evidence base that supports them and their benefits to patients and healthcare professionals alike. Electronic palliative care coordination systems (EPaCCS) – or key information systems (KIS) in Scotland and Northern Ireland – enable the recording and sharing of people’s care preferences and key details about their care with those delivering care. The systems support coordination of care and the delivery of the right care in the right place, by the right person, at the right time. There is strong and compelling evidence that when patients are managed in this way, they are more likely to be cared for in their place of choice and less likely to experience unnecessary investigations, interventions and hospital admissions. Drawing attention to the benefits of EPaCCS and their use in everyday practice is a key area of focus for the Royal College of General Practice (RCGP) and Marie Curie End of Life Care Partnership. As part of this work, we have produced a short video and an easy-to-digest paper which explain the benefits of their use. The paper highlights two localities that have recently introduced EPaCCS and are showing early signs of improved coordination of services. We want more GPs to embrace EPaCCS – it is in everyone’s interest. For those visiting the RCGP conference from 2 to 4 October, Dr Peter Nightingale and Dr Adam Firth (Marie Curie Clinical Support Fellow for End of Life Care, RCGP) will be hosting drop-in sessions at the partnership’s exhibition stand (51) on 2-3 October. Marie Curie and the RCGP will also be holding an end of life care session – More care, less pathway – future-proofing end of life care – in D3, Room 3B on 3 October from 12 noon to 1pm.