NHS Scotland aims for electronic records from 2010

  • 31 October 2006

Delivering for Health, the board responsible for IT in NHS Scotland, says it will act on the key recommendations of a forthcoming Deloitte report on delivering e-health in Scotland and say they will be in a position to implement integrated electronic patient records by as early as 2010.

The Deloitte report was commissioned by the Scottish Executive this year to look at how NHS Scotland could make the best of IT in its GP practices. The full findings are due to be published in November.

Speaking at the Scottish Clinical Information Management conference in Dunblane today, Paul Gray, director of primary and community care at the Scottish Executive Health Department said the Scottish Executive would act on the key recommendations made.

He said: “The report recommends that we better support the extended primary care team in Scotland, look into the options for future development of GPASS and try and push for common systems to be used throughout the country.”

He insisted that GPASS was not going to be scrapped, but he would like to see all GPs using the same system in the future making interoperability easier.

Gray added that the Scottish Executive was impressed with the work that had been done by Delivering for Health so far, and said that it would aim to consult fully and early with clinicians. “Clinicians, staff and patients will be involved in the process every step of the way,” he said.

“We already have work in place, PACS have been deployed, new A&E systems have been implemented and the SCI system is working well. GPs are getting more confident with the Emergency Care systems.”

Scotland’s biggest project is the deployment of a single patient record specification, to be debated by the Scottish Executive, clinicians and patients before being developed, implemented and managed by patients and staff together.

Gray said of the national single electronic record project: “The focus must be on the patient. Records need to be specific so that whoever sees it, understands it and the information can be used for the benefit of the patient. We must consider what is best for the patient and the clinicians. Basic evidence in place already indicates this will be achievable in the next three to five years.”

However, Gray emphasised that patients and clinicians still needed to work on the specification to ensure it met legal requirements and did not infringe patient confidentiality. He stressed that patients will have to give their active consent before their data is released or shared.

“Access rights need to be managed and standards need to be set over who sees what, and how everyone knows what everything means. Liability would be with the patient to decide what data is released and to whom, and their consent will need to be proven before it can be released.”

Gray added: “Doctors acting as data controllers will need to consider if releasing the data could be an aid to a patient’s life – it’s no use telling them we could have helped but you opted out of sharing your record.”

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