Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Independent Health Record

Oooer has it been over a month since I moaned on publicly about stuff? I have nothing for those prolific bloggers who manage to post several times a day! But then I am on my own here... etc etc ad infinitum...

My excuse was I went to Spain to ride fast motorbikes and be taught by ex World Champions. Its taken a while for me to come back down to the real world, but something landed in my Outlook inbox today that brought me crashing back to Earth... the announcement of the all Wales Independent Health Record (IHR).

It extolled the virtues of the system for those working in out of hours settings telling of the benefits to patients.

It ignored the fact that at best, most of our clinical records are only vaguely accurate enough to get a decent QOF score. How difficult would it be for instance to correct an inaccuracy after the download day? Especially if a diagnosis was uncertain at the time (e.g. in mental health where diagnoses are notoriously difficult to make on the basis that you can't easily quantify signs and symptoms).

And then there's the small fact that legally, anyone with a half good reason can access the data for their own purposes using Section 251 of the NHS Act (2006). And that's not including those who may inadvertently or deliberately bypass complex NHS IT security systems to have a peak, or be less than fastidious about logging off or leaving printouts or memory sticks lying about. The list goes on.

Anyway, I expressed my concerns via return email which has been intercepted. I am now to be visited by one of my colleagues and a health board project leader for re education to discuss my concerns.

It will be interesting to see what options are available to my patients (and myself and my own kids who are also patients at Single Male Doc's practice down the road) to "opt out" and whether or not such opt outs are publicised ; or will it all be done by stealth? Hmmmmm.....