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Easy notes access during home visits

Portable versions of your clinical IT system gives you access to notes without the internet, says Dr Paul Bromley.

Many GPs access patients' computerised records over broadband and 3G mobile phone links. Others deny themselves this undoubted benefit because of concerns over accessing notes via the internet.

For EMIS users there is a potential solution. Portable EMIS has been around for a number of years, but has just been 'tweaked' by EMIS as a mobile solution for GPs. Compared to internet access, it has both pros and cons.

The main disadvantage is you have to decide which records to take with you before you leave the practice. This is not usually a problem because you will be aware of the subset of records that you require if you are catching up on work at home or visiting patients.

The only other disadvantage of Portable EMIS is that you cannot use Word integration to produce letters.

To cope with 'while you are here, doctor' requests, a prompt when downloading enables you to take the notes for the other residents at the same address. The default settings for the software allow you to download a couple of hundred of records.

A call to the EMIS support team will enable the software to cope with several thousand records.

Easy to use
The major plus is that there is no time lag. The software responds as quickly as if you were in the surgery accessing the record on your system's server. The worry of accessing records via the internet is gone, but you have to balance this with the potential of the laptop being stolen.

But you can stop details falling into the wrong hands with robust passwords and laptops with biometric readers for fingerprint recognition.

New features
The software closely emulates that used in EMIS practices, so the average EMIS user will have no problems using it immediately.

Previous users of Portable EMIS will be delighted with the three enhancements, namely the ability to download and view attachments, transfer records across a fast network link, and merge changes both on the server and the record that has been downloaded.

With the old version, the record was not merged on uploading it back to the server, and changes could be made on the server or on the downloaded record but not on both at the same time.

Portable EMIS will run on most laptops. It is available on CD to self-install for £250 plus VAT (which is to cover the cost of the MSM Mumps licence required for the laptop). This licence fee has been waived for users of the earlier version. There are currently no support costs to pay. EMIS is not officially supporting this product on Windows Vista so if this is your operating system, check with them first.

A half-day training session from EMIS for up to four costs £305 plus VAT.

Contact EMIS on tel 0870 120552 or email orders@e-mis.com or EMIS users can visit www.emisonline.com/commonroom/documents/

Pros and cons of Portable EMIS


  • Avoids accessing notes via the internet.
  • As quick to use on laptop as system at the surgery.
  • Can download and view attachments.
  • Transfers records across a fast network link.
  • Merges changes on the server and downloaded record.


  • Must decide which patient records to take with you before you leave
    the practice.
  • Cannot use Word integration to produce letters.


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