Research Article

Surgery computer: a quiet revolution for general practice.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 07 April 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1049
  1. F M Akerman


    This paper shows how a well planned computer system can transform a practice's programme of prevention and surveillance, for long the Cinderella subjects in our Health Service. It was not necessary to employ specially trained staff to operate the computer and our receptionists adapted quickly and successfully: in fact, a new and interesting job coordinating the new routines has evolved which will include the preparation and presentation of a wide range of practice statistics. After initial hostility the computer has been accepted by the staff and its ability to increase the efficiency of the practice at all levels is now well recognised. Attention to the manual records, including updating summary sheets, was a vital part of our transition, and satisfactory office routines for recording all information daily is as essential. Since the computer was introduced the accuracy of our filing has improved dramatically. Rates of uptake for all immunisations and cervical cytology examinations are much better and the surveillance of various groups, whether by health visitors, nurses, or doctors, is no longer haphazard. The costs are within the scope of any practice, but positive encouragement by government (probably financial) would make acceptance of computers more likely. This would certainly encourage practitioners to take the initiative in prevention and surveillance, thereby ensuring that general practice remains the focus of a patient's overall care in the next decades.