Here is a letter from Dr Charles Swainson in the Evening News.
Centralised records improve healthcare
I was dismayed to read Dr John Welford’s letter, “System to blame for record losses, not medical staff” (News, 31 July).
Centralisation and computerisation of medical records have little to do with losing patients’ confidential medical information.
The mass computerisation he mentions refers to the introduction of a modern patient management system in NHS Lothian, TRAK, which is gradually building an electronic medical record for each patient. Currently it contains basic demographic data and contact details, service attended, laboratory and radiology results, and letters. Other key parts of the records, such as operation notes, are held on a computerised surgical database which is looked after by the surgeons.
There are huge advantages to these systems in terms of providing faster, safer healthcare. Each patient may benefit from the expertise of an extensive medical team, all working from different locations. They may be receiving care from a team including their GP, radiologists, oncologists and other health professionals. Hosting these records centrally, in one place, cuts delay and allows every member of the team access to full information on the patient to inform their expert contribution to that person’s care.
Dr Charles Swainson, medical director, NHS Lothian