E-records dubbed clunky6th May 2008
According to a study by a UK team, electronic patient records provide a "clunky" experience and use "immature" technical systems.
University College London researchers looked at four of the six pilot programmes which have put the new e-record systems into use in 2007-08.
The researchers spoke to 250 NHS staff from a variety of locations including GP surgeries and hospitals. They also talked to 170 patients.
Although the team said the electronic records had "real benefits" in relation to "emergency situations", they cautioned that the system had significant malfunctions.
NHS staff warned that the e-records did not work in tandem with existent technology and many staff had stopped trying to use it "until it works better".
The team said that patients were generally not concerned about their information being used on the system and thought it was a good idea that staff were able to quickly find their information.
The team's report said NHS Connecting for Health, who commissioned the study, should concentrate on aiding staff understanding of the e-records.
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, the study's leader, said the system should not be viewed in "black-and-white terms".
"As an innovation, it has both potential benefits and potential dis-benefits. Its 'success' will depend to a large extent on how it is used and the extent to which it is trusted."
A spokesman for NHS Connecting for Health, stated that the e-record scheme would not be rolled out to the rest of the country until the problems raised by the study has been fixed.
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