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£5.8 million for online patient records

26 June, 2000

Health Minister Gisela Stuart, has announced the second phase in the move to ensure that every person in the UK has their own electronic patient record.

13 demonstrator sites will receive an additional £5.85 million from the IT Modernisation Fund to explore how information systems and electronic records can be used to improve the delivery of patient care.

The Electronic Patient Record demonstrator sites will focus on specific issues identified in the information strategy for the NHS. Some will focus on supporting the Government's key health priorities, bringing together patient records for those receiving treatment for cancer and coronary heart disease. Others will concentrate on establishing links between health and social care for mental health, child and elderly care, between walk in centres and primary care or NHS Direct and other health organisations. Others will focus on specific areas such as maternity services or integrated care pathways.

This complements the work being carried out in the four first phase Electronic Health Record (EHR) demonstrator sites which were launched to show how electronic records can be used to share patient information across wider health and social service communities.

Gisela Stuart, speaking at the Association for Information and Technology Staff in the NHS, Conference, said: "This is a vital step in ensuring that every person in the country has their own lifelong electronic health record to improve their
knowledge and involvement in their own treatment and care. Every health and social care professional will also have fast and secure online access to relevant health information, medical history and condition to enable them to provide the highest quality emergency care when and where it is needed."

"At present there may be a number of separate records for the same patient within the same hospital, held by each consultant, clinic or ward responsible for their treatment. Electronic Patient Records bring all the records and information together in one place and format so regardless of where the patient receives diagnosis or treatment the clinician will have instant access to comprehensive and up to date records at the touch of a mouse."

"Eventually, this will end the paper chase for patient records, allow health professionals more time to treat patients and ensure better quality information is available to both reassure and inform patients about their treatment, and support clinicians in direct patient care. The outcome will be improved services for patients and a much better patient experience."

"Electronic patient records are a significant component of the Information for Health strategy and are crucial to the full development of a patient-centred service. Electronic patient records form a major step in delivering the type of service people expect from a modern NHS. Information in the NHS must be available 24 hours a day to enable health professionals to deliver fast, seamless care to patients. This means making the most of modern technology."

Ms Stuart also announced the publication of the NHS Information Management and Technology Procurement Review which was designed to address the known difficulties, duplication and delays of current information technology procurement processes in the NHS. The review stressed the need for partnership approaches and to the use of agreed national standards. It also recognised the need for different approaches to procurement, related to the different stages in a system or product life cycle.