A survey into practice managers’ attitudes towards healthcare IT systems has found that they are generally in favour of IT innovations, including the NHS Summary Care Record.
The survey, carried out by Management in Practice magazine, found that of 435 managers and associated GP staff who responded, 66% believed the SCR would benefit patients and only 2.6% thought that it would not.
When asked which single IT innovation they would like to see, respondents said that they would like integrated and ‘compatible’ information systems between surgeries and hospitals.
However, they felt the SCR would mean better information, as doctors and other practice staff would not have to rely so much on patients’ memories.
Respondents also felt shared records would also prevent potential abuse of the system and give emergency practitioners the necessary background to treat patients quickly.
Dr Gillian Braunold, NHS Connecting for Health’s clinical director for the SCR and HealthSpace, said: “I am delighted by the positive reaction by practice managers. Our managers understand the benefits the SCR will bring patients.”
The survey also addressed security concerns and found that only 27% of managers believed that the Spine was secure; a further 38% said they did not know.
Furthermore, the survey revealed that around half of practices believed that failure to engage in Choose and Book would disadvantage patients; 54% supported Choose and Book, whilst 23% did not.
GP Dr Grant Ingrams, co-chair of the joint IT committee of the BMA’s GP Committee and the Royal College of GPs, said that the results reflected how Choose and Book is operating across the country.
He said: “If you’re in an area where it’s working well, you would conclude that patients would be badly affected if a GP wasn’t using it. But if it didn’t work well, you wouldn’t think that.”
The survey concluded that practices are generally embracing technology as a means of improving patient access.
More than three quarters of practices are allowing repeat prescription requests via email, and one in five enable new patients to register online. In addition, 64% have their own website.