We have replaced the quarterly meetings with EMIS with shorter monthly events in order to help with busy diaries and keep abreast of fast-moving events.
At this meeting we had an update on the major EMIS Web performance issues many of us have been experiencing. Hundreds of user reports have now been analysed by the technical team and already key factors affecting the stability and speed of EMIS Web have been identified. ‘KD’ errors are now being collated automatically rather than relying on user reports and investigation of these has allowed several significant system improvements to be made already - some recently released in version 9.12.4 and more in 9.13, set for roll out from next week. One fix concerns the difficulties closing EMIS Web and needing to resort to Task Manager and another on the way will hopefully speed up issuing EPS items. EMIS plans to continue rapid upgrade roll outs on a frequent basis – as often as weekly if necessary- in a change from the previous way of building a number of fixes and enhancements into bigger releases.
Not all the bugs identified are in EMIS Web; for instance, one issue identified sits in the smartcard Identity Agent software and another seems to reflect particular network settings from some internet providers which unnecessarily slows EMIS Web traffic. However, when it affects our clinical system, as users we have no choice but to blame EMIS!
The NUG is heartened by the open and honest approach taken by EMIS, the improvements in managing users’ problems and the resources being put into fixing these.
We also heard about other significant improvements based on user experience. We were given a glimpse of the newly redesigned EMIS Now: a major upgrade on a system which was not as easy and quick to use as we require. The new interface is much slicker, the search functions more intuitive and better focussed and it should give an altogether quicker and more satisfactory experience, whether logging and following up a ‘case’ or searching the knowledge base for articles and guides. Single sign-on is still being worked on but we are assured this is the aim. Meanwhile a more tailored approach is being adopted depending on your profile. Clearly a lot of work has gone into this and many of our criticisms and suggestions have been addressed, so we are hopeful for another pat on the back for EMIS once we start to see it in action in June.
EMIS Academy is a new educational resource – a Learning Management System - built with a similar look and feel to the EMIS Now redesign. This promises excellent educational material of all sorts - webinars, short videos, courses - all linked to roles, with certification, management dashboards for Practice Managers and PCNs and linked to the support system so that training needs can be identified and users can be signposted appropriately. Many calls to the support centre are not due to technical problems within EMIS Web but a lack of user knowledge or training and this should help plug a gap. The service is planned for release in July and EMIS will be sharing more information soon which we await this with interest.
We felt this was a very positive meeting, especially given all the negative news recently and look forward to our next meeting in June.