Information In Practice

Lessons from the central Hampshire electronic health record pilot project:evaluation of the electronic health record for supporting patient care and secondary analysis

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 08 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:875
  1. Hugh Sanderson, consultant in public health (,
  2. Trina Adams, clinical systems programme manager2,
  3. Martin Budden, Surrey LIS programme manager3,
  4. Chris Hoare, chief information officer2
  1. 1Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust, Winchester, Southampton SO22 5DG
  2. 2Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Health Authority, Southampton SO16 4GX
  3. 3East Surrey Health Informatics Service, Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority, West Park Hospital, Epsom, Surrey K19 8PB
  1. Correspondence to: H Sanderson
  • Accepted 19 January 2004


The central Hampshire electronic health record (CHEHR) was constructed by linking several electronic patient records.1 Its two main objectives were to test the clinical usefulness of the electronic record in supporting emergency and out of hours care and to determine whether clinical data could be extracted and used to assess patient care.

Supporting emergency care

A clinical committee was established to determine access protocols for staff. All stakeholders were represented. Access to the central Hampshire electronic health record, training in its use, and consent conditions applied to several staff (box 1).

The pilot ran from January to March 2003. Staff who used the system were asked to complete an evaluation form at the end of their shift. Overall, 148 forms were returned, mainly from eight staff (two senior house officers, two nurse advisers, two practice managers, and two general practitioners) who between them had accessed the system on more than 260 occasions. The senior house officers used the system most often. They had been partially funded by the project for the purpose of evaluation so they became expert, and fellow clinicians used them to access patient details.

For social services access was restricted to patients' personal details, their registered general practitioner, and the social service record. Health service staff were allowed more access to the social services record and could access details of patients and residential or non-residential care. The social care plan is not held electronically and was therefore not available for the pilot.

As only three practices participated in the pilot there were numerous occasions when there was no general practice record available for a patient in hospital. Patient records were found on only 47% of attempts. Even when records were found, they did not always contain useful information. Only 20% of forms reported finding the information being sought, but …

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