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Hospital staff get smartcard access to records

Antony Savvas
Barnsley District General Hospital has become one of the first hospitals to give clinical staff smartcard-authenticated access to patient records as part of the NHS national programme for IT.

Under a £1m, five-year managed service deal with Azzurri Communications, the hospital has replaced its legacy green-screen VDUs with 300 flat-screen terminals located on wards and throughout the hospital. These give 3,000 clinical staff e-mail and internet access for the first time.

Staff can insert their smartcards and log-on to view and edit patient records. When the smartcard is taken out of the machine, the staff member is automatically logged out of the network.

The system is designed to allow staff to use a single infrastructure for all basic tasks, and the hospital expects it to reduce paperwork.

In the future, the system will be used to order prescriptions and book x-rays and laboratory tests.

Janet Platt, clinical lead for electronic records development at Barnsley Hospital, said, "We have already seen a vast improvement in communication around the hospital. The technology allows us to improve our processes and the service to our patients."

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