Technological Innovations in Health Care
Written patient care records have been around ever since the days of Florence Nightingale, however it was not until the 1920’s and the creation of the Lloyd-George folder that formal medical care records were kept (Thompson and Wright, 2003). In present times technology is increasingly being introduced within the National Health Service (NHS), its aims are clear; to improve the standards of care for patients and to provide an enhanced working environment for its employees (Cooper, 2012). In 2002, the Department of Health (DoH) launched its National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) within the NHS, at a cost of £11.4 billion. The aim of the programme was to provide electronic medical records for every patient in the UK by 2010 this would then change the way in which the NHS and health care professionals use information, therefore providing better services and ultimately improving patient care (National Audit Office, 2011). The topic of this assignment is to discuss the electronic care records system. This has been chosen as nurses have a professional and legal duty to keep accurate records (Wood, 2003), they record vital information about their patients throughout their shift, which they then have to communicate to other members of the multi–disciplinary team. Accurate documentation plays a significant part in the care of a patient; it improves accountability and provides written evidence of the care that a patient receives. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2009) state that good record keeping is a key element of nursing and plays a vital role which aims to promote safe and effective care for every patient, as patient records provide evidence of the decisions made and of the care delivered. Previously patient’s medical records have been held by their GP’s but with the development of electronic patient records these can be shared to allow NHS staff access to important medical information (Anon, 2010). Electronic care records
The documentation of a patient’s care is of vital importance to their health outcomes as it used to document changes in a patient, this allows healthcare professionals to adjust care appropriately. The electronic care record aims to make documentation clearer and more accessible in doing this patient safety and care are improved as errors are less likely to occur (Robertson, Cresswell, Takian et al. 2010). The electronic care record can be described as being a digital account of a patient’s medical information; this can be viewed on a computer and shared effortlessly by healthcare professionals who are taking care of the patient. Within this information the patients’ demographics can be found along with clinical notes, diagnosis, medications, allergies, past medical history, procedures and results of diagnostic tests (Robertson, Cresswell, Takian et al. 2010). Each and every patient will have their own electronic care records, which will be held on a central computer system (known as the spine). These care records will comprise of two parts: •
Detailed care record - this will include patients medical history in full, which will be accessible to GP’s and hospital settings. Useful if a patient is referred into hospital (NAO, 2011). •
Summary care record - this contains vital medical information, such as allergies to certain drugs, which will be available to all NHS staff across the country that may provide treatment to the patient (NAO, 2011). NHS staff will have varying levels of access, which will be dependent on their role, for example administration staff will not be able to access any clinical information about a patient but will be able to access clerical information and any information which is deemed to be of a personal and sensitive nature will be put into virtual sealed envelopes that only specific staff will have access to (Parish, 2006). As electronic health records will be held on files within a computer system it will...
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