Intended for healthcare professionals

Medicopolitical Digest

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BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 27 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1441

Guidance needed on the use of the internet

The BMA has called on the Department of Health to issue guidance on the use of the internet for health and medical matters

The chairman of the information management and technology subcommittee of the General Practitioners Committee, Dr Paul Cundy, is worried about the security of some of the information posted on the web. He says that general practices and NHS organisations are increasingly using the internet as a means of communicating with patients and many have their own websites

Dr Cundy says that using the internet to provide information is fine, but “the trouble comes when practices start offering things like repeat prescription requests via email, or offering so called email consultations.” He says that confidentiality and security must be paramount and until the appropriate safeguards are in place practices need to be aware of the risks involved

The government intends that all practices should be linked via the NHSNet. But difficulties with implementing the system mean that the target date has been delayed and the BMA is …

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