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Patients clueless over net records

2 June 2008

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A national plan allowing NHS staff and members of the public to view patient records has gone unnoticed by most people, according to a survey.

The system of electronic summary patient care records (SCR) can be accessed via the internet by NHS professionals, while internet-based personal health organiser HealthSpace allows patients to view their own SCR.

But, according to a study published on the online edition of the British Medical Journal, only three in 10 people living in the pilot areas had heard about the programme, despite an extensive public information campaign.

Researchers from University College London set out to document the views of patients and the public towards the SCR in the pilot areas.

They carried out 103 interviews with people who had recently used the health service in their area, and held focus groups with people recruited from voluntary sector organisations.

Researchers found that even though nearly all of the local population had received a letter informing them about the SCR being introduced in their area, most were not actually aware of either the SCR or HealthSpace.

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University College London