NHS Scotland enters patient record data via tablet PCs

NHS Scotland has begun the wider roll out of tablet computers after a trial enabled doctors to upload patient record data directly onto the patient records system.

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NHS Scotland has begun the wider roll out of tablet computers after a trial enabled doctors to upload patient record data directly onto the patient records system.

The trial, which took place since May at St John’s hospital in the Lothian region, involved Motion Computing C5 tablet PCs, which are based on the Intel Mobile Care Assistant platform. They were used by doctors, nurses and pharmacists who said the technology saved time.

Under plans, 100 of the devices will now be rolled out across Lothian. NHS Lothian said this would help clinicians when prescribing medicines and discharging patients. Notes can be input directly onto the electronic system and consultants have instant access to test results and full patient history.

Dr Charles Swainson, medical director, NHS Lothian, said: “By reducing the time that needs to be spent on administrative tasks, the Mobile Clinical Assistants allow clinicians to spend more time with patients. Instant access to medical notes has also speeded up the clinical decision-making process.”

NHS Scotland is not covered under the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT, and like NHS Wales it has its own IT systems. The NPfIT only applies to England.

Under new NPfIT plans, doctors in England will now have to ask patient consent before accessing their electronic summary care records, which will be created over the coming several years. But the NHS is sticking with controversial plans to automatically opt-in patients to the system unless the actively withdraw.

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