Intended for healthcare professionals


Future of NHS summary care record hangs in balance

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 17 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3230
  1. Michael Cross
  1. 1London

    The future of the controversial electronic summary care record—the principal clinical innovation of the £13bn (€15.7bn; $19.1bn) effort to computerise the NHS in England—hangs in the balance this week after a critical official evaluation.

    A long awaited, independent academic study, published today in full by the Department of Health and as a BMJ research paper (2010;340:c3111, doi:10.1136/bmj.c3111), makes no recommendation for the future of the care record or of its counterpart for patients, HealthSpace. However, its findings, although necessarily based on small samples and early system versions, will provide ammunition if ministers decide to cancel the project. Ministers have already said that electronic health records are under review.

    The evaluation, carried out by a team led by Trisha Greenhalgh of University College London, finds little evidence that the record achieves any of the benefits hoped for. While there are “isolated examples of better quality care and more equitable care . . . …

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