Patients who do not want their details and medical history included in the electronic records programme must actively opt out.
But researchers from University College London found that, although most had received letters announcing the start of the programme, only three in ten patients were now aware of it. And a substantial minority have significant concerns about being included in the programme.
The researchers argue that a 'consent to view' model 'might be both more pragmatic and more ethically justifiable than the current model of implied consent'.
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh and her team interviewed 103 patients and held seven focus groups to discuss the subject.
They also found that many patients wrongly believe clinicians already have access to electronic patient records.
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