GPs in UK leading on technology use, global survey finds

GP practices in the UK have topped an international ranking for the use of healthcare technology, according to a survey of primary care doctors in 10 countries.

Most UK practices use 'multi-functional' computer systems

Over two thirds of UK practices use 'multi-functional' computer systems that include electronic patient records, alerts for drug interactions and the ability to order prescriptions and diagnostic tests.

This compares with 59% to 60% of practices in New Zealand and Australia and just 27% of US practices.

The 2012 Commonwealth International Health Policy surveyed 8,500 primary care doctors in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

It found 97% of UK GPs use electronic medical records and 84% routinely review data on clinical outcomes. Over half - 56% - said patients can request repeat prescriptions electronically.

The figures follow a pledge from health secretary Jeremy Hunt to greatly expand the health technologies used by GPs and patients by 2015 as part of the NHS Mandate.

Responding to the survey, Mr Hunt said: 'I am pleased that our GPs are doing very well when it comes to using electronic medical records and enabling patients to make appointments online.

'I have set out in the NHS Mandate that I want all patients by 2015 to be able to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and talk to GP practices online. This will help people better manage their health and care.'

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