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Electronic medical records explained

11th March 2010

The British Medical Association believes that the move towards a national medical records database is happening too fast.

DoctorAtPC2

So far, 1.25 million records have gone onto the database with the process gaining momentum and a target to have 50m records in the system by 2014.

But the BMA says some patients are not aware that their records are being uploaded or do not understand how to opt out.

While most people agree that this better access to records will improve patient care, doctors and patient groups remain concerned at the risks to confidentiality and that records may fall into the wrong hands.

The system will contain appointments and information about medication, allergies and adverse reactions to any drugs, which doctors will have automatic access to.

Further details may be added in due course but the Department of Health says no sensitive information would be added without a discussion between doctor and patient.

Patients can view their records or ask for information to be removed. They can also opt out of the database before details are uploaded.

Patients Association director Katherine Murphy said: “Many patients are rightly concerned about their confidentiality and consent and if there is even the slightest impression that this is being pushed through it will generate a feeling of mistrust. People who might otherwise have consented could end up opting out which would be the last thing everybody wants.”

The Department of Health said much thought had gone into the way in which opt-out forms were provided.

 

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Comments

Anonymous

Thursday 11th March 2010 @ 11:30

I have a 93 year old father who is registered blind and deaf who believes that his care has been compromised by the lack of sharing and interconnection of information. His view is that issues around the sharing of information delay measurable improvements to patient care. Why do we have so many worries about confidentaility of electronic information when NHS paper information is so vulverable?


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