Intended for healthcare professionals


Soft paternalism and the ethics of shared electronic patient records

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 29 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:2

Computerised Healthcare and Locum Doctors

Dear Sir/ Madam,

The article by Professor Norheim highlights the expansion of
healthcare. Having undertaken several locum doctor appointments whilst
undertaking a higher degree, we have noticed some serious failings in the
provision of training for locum doctors in using the hospital computer
systems. Frequently doctors share passwords for electronic patient records

and hospital computer systems as it is difficult and often time-consuming
attain their own passwords, especially when very short- term locums are
being undertaken. This should be avoided at all costs as it compromises

Locum doctors should ensure they are given basic training in the use
of these
systems as part of their induction at a new hospital, followed by
allocation of
individual passwords. This may be achieved through the Information
Technology (IT) department or the clinical risk manager for out-of-hours
duties. If necessary, locums should turn up before the commencement of
their shift to receive this training. Ideally, in the future, doctors may
assigned a universal password that could be utilised in all centres worked
however they would still require training for each different system used.

Ensuring adequate training at this stage in the development of
healthcare is crucial to its eventual success.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 July 2006
amir ismail
MSc Student Imperial College London
Muhammad Ismail
Imperial College London, W12 ONN