Sharing patient information electronically throughout NHS

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7415.623-a (Published 11 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:623

Ability to provide seamless decision support will be key factor

  1. P Ramnarayan, clinical research fellow (ram{at}isabel.org.uk),
  2. Emma Steel, director,
  3. Joseph Britto, clinical director, ISABEL Clinical Decision Support Systems
  1. Imperial College London, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, St Mary's Hospital, London W2 1NY
  2. Isabel Medical Charity, St Mary's Hospital

    EDITOR—Booth's editorial is timely and raises several important issues.1 Although clinicians have to assume a prominent role in planning and implementing a new integrated care record service, they should also be convinced why keeping patients' records electronically is useful.2

    Booth details the advantage of being able to share patient data, improve clinical and workflow efficiency, and reduce medical errors. Clinicians are also interested in how it will help with their clinical workflow. Safe care for patients now requires a degree of individualisation that is impossible without computerised clinical decision support.3

    As active clinical practitioners involved in the development of a decision support system for paediatrics (ISABEL, http://www.isabel.org.uk/),4 we believe that the ability to provide seamless decision support in practice will be the key to clinician satisfaction with the new system. This approach allows the implementation of evidence based decisions supported by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, reduces medical error rates, and enables easy dissemination of lessons learnt from error into clinical workflow.

    Advanced decision support will also allow knowledge delivery from textbooks and journals to the point of care. By using sophisticated pattern analysis software, data captured in the spine and the integrated care record service can be used for real time epidemiological surveillance. Public health problems, adverse events, and emerging clinical paradigms can be monitored and evoke swift remedial responses. The realisation of this vision will satisfy clinicians and promote successful implementation of the new integrated care record service.


    • Competing interests None declared.


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