Electronic medical record upload
Storing medical records online, a good idea or a bad idea? Well it would appear that the government have decided that the centralised electronic medical records are a good idea, despite the fact that the coalition hinted that they could be scrapped.
Summary Care Records (SCRs) - electronic records of a person's allergies and drug prescriptions, were developed as part of the previous Labour government's GBP£12.7 billion plan to revamp NHS IT.
Work began in November last year in England to create individual patients' records. The aim of SCRs is to make it easier for doctors to treat patients who they are not familiar with, for example, when a patient is treated in the A&E department of a hospital outside of the county where they live.
Uploading of electronic medical records will continue
Speaking in the House of Commons late last week, health minister Simon Burns said: "Uploading of information to the summary care record will continue to take place."
The creation of SCRs was temporarily halted earlier this year due to concerns over whether patients understood that they would automatically have an SCR created unless they chose to opt out.
According to Burns, SCRs will now only continue to be created in areas of England where it is felt patients understand the records are being created and that they have the ability to opt out of having an SCR created for them.
Then only last month, the NHS was accused of scaring patients into agreeing to have their personal details on the electronic records database. It was reported that the agency charged with rolling out the new system was warning of "adverse consequences" if people choose to opt out of the computerised network.
A document posted on the website of NHS Connecting for Health listed several dangers to patients if they continue to have their medical information stored on paper files.
Contrasting report on electronic medical records
The move comes in contrast to a report produced by Norman Lamb, the then Liberal Democrat health spokesman, in February this year which said: "The National Care Records Service should be abandoned.
"The strategy for the future should be based on local connectivity between primary and secondary health care and social care," silicon.com reported.
Last year, the Conservatives also proposed dismantling central IT infrastructure in favour of introducing common data formats for storing medical records in hospitals and GP surgeries across England.
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