UCL News


Department of Health contract for UCL

25 April 2007

A team led by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh (UCL Primary Care & Population Sciences) has been awarded a contract worth £290,000 by the Department of Health to conduct the independent evaluation of the Summary Care Record (SCR) Early Adopter Programme.

The SCR is part of the wider NHS Care Records Service, which will see an electronic health record being created for every person in England (who does not object) by 2010.

The year-long evaluation of the early adopter phase of the SCR will start on 1 May 2007, and will broadly cover the following areas:

  • usability, usage and functionality of the SCR
  • impact and benefits of the SCR
  • patient access to their own SCR
  • evaluation of the Public Information Programme
  • evaluation of the consent/dissent model.

The evaluation team will conduct extensive fieldwork within the early adopter Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), immersing themselves in the reality of implementation and usage of the SCR on the ground.

The views and experiences of GPs, nurses, patients and the public, practice managers and other clinical and administrative staff using the SCR will all be captured.

The final report of the evaluation's findings will be published in the summer of 2008 with any emerging findings influencing the continued rollout of the SCR.

As part of the Early Adopter Programme, patients registered with a participating GP will be informed that a SCR is being created for them. This record will contain limited but important information such as a patient's known allergies, current medications and any bad reactions to medicines and, following a discussion between the patient and their GP, any significant diagnoses and problems.

The record will be accessible by both the patient and the authorised healthcare professionals delivering patient care, principally in an urgent or unscheduled care environment, eg an A&E department. Patients will be able to decide what information they wish to share in their SCR, or to decide not to have one.

Professor Greenhalgh's research interests include evidence-based practice, the design of effective health services for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, and the use of patient narratives in organisational change. She is a past winner of the Royal College of General Practitioners Research Paper of the Year Award and was awarded the OBE for Services to Medicine in 2001.

Professor Greenhalgh's team also recently won a separate £500,000 contract from the Medical Research Council to explore the impact of electronic patient records on GP-patient communication and the organisation of work in the NHS.  

To find out more, use the link at the bottom of this article.