By LAURA CUMMINGS
HEALTH chiefs in the Lothians have said they have taken action to protect patient data, after being criticised over two separate cases where medical records were lost.
The health board has been rapped by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which investigated the incidents.
In one, a USB memory stick containing the personal information of 137 patients was lost by a community health worker last June.
The ICO said the memory stick belonged to an employee and should not have been used to store NHS Lothian data.
Also in June last year, a document wallet with 25 paper files about patients was left in a shop.
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Powerful software which mimics the evolution of superbugs could help scientists tackle them more effectively, researchers hope.
Edinburgh University scientists have been working with computer models which could help develop more effective antibiotic treatments.
The study also encourages experts to pool their findings for a more reliable approach to bacteria growth.
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Almost all of Scotland’s GP practices now have electronic links to community pharmacies in the first system of its kind in the UK.
The electronic Acute Medication Service (eAMS) allows prescriptions to be transmitted directly, cutting down on paperwork and reducing risk of error.
Patients are still given paper prescriptions but these contain a unique barcode.
This brings up their details when scanned by a pharmacist.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “We have a very successful prescribing system in Scotland, with around one million paper prescriptions written by GPs every week and dispensed in community pharmacies.
“But we can always do more and that’s what eAMS will achieve.”
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NHS facilities in Scotland are currently trialling the use of handheld computers among doctors and nurses.
It is hoped that by distributing information to healthcare professionals electronically, the amount of paper they use will be reduced.
The technology should also allow staff to access and update patient records while they are on the move, thereby freeing up time they would spend using desktop PCs.
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Hospitals roll out hand-held computers giving doctors and nurses instant access to database By Tom Gordon
SCOTLAND IS set to become the first country in the world with an entirely paperless health service, as wireless hand-held computers allow doctors and nurses to check and update patient records wherever they go.
The machines let staff move from bedside to bedside downloading patient histories, test results, and digital x-rays on the electronic equivalent of a clipboard called a mobile clinical assistant (MCA), or toughbook.
Information is delivered through dedicated hospital wi-fi systems, with access to the most sensitive information restricted to senior medical professionals.
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Wireless computing and homegrown software turn may turn Scoland’s NHS paperless. When PDA’s didn’t work, Scotland’s NHS turned to Intel designed Medical Computer Assistants or Mobile Clinical Assistants (MCA). These together with Coupled or Computer Access on Wheels (COWs) and a lot of local Scottish software may move the NHS to the first paperless health service.
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