UCL News


UCL in the News: NHS staff dub e-records 'clunky'

5 May 2008

BBC News The initial experience of electronic patient records is of "clunky" and "immature" technology, a study finds.

A team from UCL evaluated four out of six English pilot sites which have been running the schemes over the last year.

It found "real benefits" for treating patients in emergency or unplanned situations, but warned the system has major bugs and access problems. …

The team from UCL interviewed 250 NHS staff from primary care trusts, GP practices, A&E, walk-in centres and out-of-hours services, as well as 170 patients.

But the staff said the technology did not link in properly with other IT systems, and that many had given up using it "until it works better". …

However, patients themselves were largely unworried about their details being included on the system, and were often happy that they did not have to remember complicated medical details about their condition and the drugs they were taking, and that NHS staff they came into contact with could easily access those details.

Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, who led the research, said e-records should not be seen 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.

"Public debate up to now has tended to be conducted by the minority of individuals with extreme views (positive or negative), and as a result has been somewhat simplistic, polarised and tied to hypothetical situations." …