Research Article

Randomised controlled trial of computer-held medical records in hypertensive patients.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 20 March 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:677
  1. C J Bulpitt,
  2. L J Beilin,
  3. E C Coles,
  4. C T Dollery,
  5. B F Johnson,
  6. A D Munro-Faure,
  7. S C Turner


    A total of 278 hypertensive patients in three clinics were randomly allocated to have their medical records held in a computer system (136) or on standard hospital notes (142). For the computer system the doctor completed a structured input form, and the information on symptoms, physical findings, and diagnoses was more complete than that in the standard notes. This resulted in certain symptoms and risk factors being recognised more often when the computer system was used. The hypertension clinics' routines were not disrupted by the introduction of a computer-held system, and follow-up consultation times were not affected by the type of records kept, although the first consultation took eight minutes longer when computer documents were completed. The patients remained in the trial for one year and clinical management was assessed from blood pressure control, drop-out rates, and the frequency of performing investigations. These estimates of management showed no significant difference between the two groups, but the attempt to tailor the computer system to help management made the system acceptable to the doctors using it. The computer system continues to be used and is providing data for research into hypertension.