UK Health Minister Lord Warner has announced plans to speed up the implementation of the electronic patient record program, ‘NHS Care Records Service’.
Speaking at the BMA’s Local Medical Committee Conference, Lord Warner spoke about a number of initiatives to gear up progress on the electronic patient record. The first of these will be setting a date in early 2007 to begin pilots for the uploading of patient information onto the summary care record. This will enable the transfer of patient records when people change GPs.
Another initiative is the establishment of a new taskforce to develop a detailed implementation plan for speeding up delivery of the electronic medical record. It will be chaired by a layperson and involve a cross-section of clinical representatives.
Health Minister Lord Warner said, we cannot carry on with the cumbersome, outdated and I would say sometimes dangerous paper-based system. It’s critical we make the transition to electronic records, and the sooner the better for patients and doctors alike.
The NHS IT upgrade, which aims to create a centralized electronic medical record system and link more than 30,000 GPs in England to 300 hospitals, is expected to be criticized in a forthcoming report from finance watchdogs, the National Audit Office. The British Medical Association has also raised concerns over the proposed electronic database, saying it threatens patient confidentiality.