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Nurses unsure of electronic health records

Nurses are not confident that the NHS can deliver an electronic patient record in the foreseeable future, a new survey shows.

Although 66% of nurses are looking forward to its introduction, a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey shows they are also dubious to what impact it will have on patient care, safety and confidentiality.

Only half of nurses surveyed believe that electronic records will improve patient safety, while a third feel security will be no better than it was with paper records.

The survey also reveals that two thirds of nurses have not been consulted as to the introduction of a new record system nor have they received any IT training within the last six months.

RCN General Secretary DR Peter Carter said the lack of consultation and engagement with nurses is "disappointing".

He adds that "if electronic patient records are to be introduced in the right way with staff fully engaged and involved, the health service has to get to grips with this problem before it is too late"

Many nurses are uncomfortable and apprehensive of using computers due to a lack of machines, he says.

"We cannot have a situation where nursing staff are waiting in line with 20 or more people for time on a computer to carry out essential documentation," he says.

"Equally, we cannot have a system that is dependent on so few computers to facilitate care."


Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

We have electronic records here in West Herts and they are a huge improvement. There are big hardware issues and accessability problems but one year on I would say that most of our team (50) like them and feel they are very much more professional than hand written records. The potential is also far reaching and we are already referring to other therapies elctronically" - Name and address supplied

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