Details on electronic records revealed as first pilots go live

Nurses will be forced into a more equal relationship with patients as electronic patient records (EPRs) are introduced, according to Marlene Winfield, the national patient lead for Connecting for Health.

Electronic patient records piloted
Electronic patient records piloted
Two practices in Bolton will be the first to test EPRs. Letters were sent to 14,500 patients last week informing them that their details would be uploaded and that they had two months to object.

Patients can object at their practice, via the PCT patient liaison service, or through a helpline linked to NHS Direct. Staff have been given training and an information pack to talk through with patients.

Ms Winfield said patients' concerns about the EPR would improve care because nurses and doctors would be forced to work with patients as partners on what information appeared in the record and how that was used.

Patients will also be able to view their own records on a website and take any concerns over accuracy to their practice or have a statement on the record explaining why the patient disagreed with what was said.

Nurses will be able to give patients three options for how the record will appear: a complete opt-out, an edited summary, or a record that can only be accessed with explicit patient consent on each occasion.

The summary record will initially only include details of medications, allergies and adverse reactions. In future it will expand to include information such as discharge summaries. However, it will be up to nurses and GPs to inform patients of this.

Ms Winfield said the EPR would be useful for all prescribers, out-of- hours nurses and community nurses.

'This is aimed at cutting down on the number of prescribing errors in the NHS which we know is a problem and also helping mobile clinicians such as nurses,' she said.


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