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Views And Reviews Provocations

GPs have been Luddites for too long and must embrace new technology

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 22 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2206
  1. Clare Gerada, GP partner
  1. Hurley Group, south London, UK
  1. clare.gerada{at}

Patients will expect a “new normal” in their interactions with general practice, argues Clare Gerada

I started working in general practice in the pre-computer era, when we used “Lloyd George records.” These small brown envelopes invited one line entries; anything more would rapidly exceed the envelope’s capacity and need elastic bands to link two or more together. We recognised what we then referred to as “heart sink” patients by the size of their record.

My practice, like many others, began to use computers in the early 1990s for a few functions, such as prescribing drugs and holding summary records. For everything else we relied on paper. When our practice manager announced in the mid 1990s that we would be switching to electronic records, the resistance among us GPs was immense.

Pleaded and argued

We were convinced that the move would wreck the doctor-patient relationship. We said it would interfere with the …

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