GPs want opt-in on patient records

More than half of GPs in England would be unlikely to upload clinical data onto a national clinical record unless the patient specifically consented to it, according to the latest Medix survey of GPs.

More than half of GPs in England would be unlikely to upload clinical data onto a national clinical record unless the patient specifically consented to it, according to the latest Medix survey of GPs.

The finding casts further doubt on plans under the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) to upload clinical data onto a national system unless a patient specifically opts out.

Some 51% of GPs would not, or would be unlikely to, upload data unless patients specifically consented to them doing so. Forty seven per cent of other doctors surveyed said they would not be prepared to update patient records without specific consent.

The survey found that most doctors recognise the benefits of the NPfIT. For example, 58% of GPs and 69% of other doctors believe it will improve clinical care in the longer term. But overall support for the project is falling.

Nearly four years ago, 67% of GPs said the NPfIT was an important priority for the NHS now only 35% think so. Although 25% of GPs and 41% of other doctors are still enthusiastic about the programme, the figure is well down on figures of 56% and 75% respectively recorded nearly three years ago.

Four out of five GPs now have some experience of Choose and Book, the NPfIT's appointment booking system, and the percentage who support its introduction has risen from 17% at the start of 2006 to 26% today.

However, of those using the system, more than 90% said it increased the time spent dealing with referrals, and more than 70% said it made no difference, or was detrimental to patient outcomes.

www.computerweekly.com/npfit

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk


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