MPs “dismayed” at confusion about electronic patient records

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 20 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:581
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. London

Confusion about what information to include in electronic patient records as well as a lack of engagement with frontline NHS staff, particularly doctors, has been blamed for delays in creating the database promised by the government, which would be accessible throughout the health service.

A highly critical report from the cross party health committee says that MPs were dismayed at the lack of clarity about what medical details would be included in the two types of electronic records planned by the NHS IT programme—summary care record and detailed care record—and what they would be used for.

The confusion has led to delays of more than two years in developing and installing new IT systems in some cases. Many NHS staff have lost faith in the new system and are frustrated with having to rely on outdated software.

One example given in the report is iSoft's Lorenzo system for basic administration, which is to be installed in hospitals across the north and the Midlands, but will not be trialed until next year. Until it is in place the uploading of patients' …

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