The Department of Health is setting up a new organisation to oversee the scope of the clinical content in the NHS Summary Care Record (SCR). An SCR is an electronic patient record that sums up all of the data collected in the course of all an individual's treatments by the NHS. The new body will be known as the Summary Care …
The arrogance of these people never fails to amaze and frighten me
There is still NO check of the accuracy of the data in your SCR. These people assume that what is entered is correct, I can assure you that it is not!
Some time ago my wife paid a visit to a consultant for a gynecological procedure, the consultant read my wife's SCR, and asked, "Why are you here for this procedure, you have already had a hysterectomy?" My wife never had one, so we asked and were eventually allowed to check our SC'R's.
We each found 10 - 12 major errors in the data, due to bad data entry and data entered on our records for the completely wrong person. Important results of tests and treatments at hospitals were never added to the SCR's
Some of the entries and omissions could have been extremely dangerous for us if medical action was taken only on the basis of the records, i.e. if we were not in a state to make a verbal presentation. My wife has an extreme allergy to penicillin, it is known at our GP's, it is written in her notes, but it was missing from her SCR.
When I checked the process and specifications of the SCR. I found that there are NO requirements for checks of data accuracy. There are a suite of diagnostics, however they only check that the codes used in the SCR are valid codes for use on an SCR.
I attempted to get our practice manager to run a sample test, to try to establish the size of the problem, i.e. to invite a group of patients to check their SCR's with the help of their doctor, but she was not willing to do this.
I also communicated my concerns to our NH trust IT manager, but she was also unhelpful, I do not think she understands what a data base is and how to ensure that it is accurate.
Needless to say my wife and I opted out of the SCR scheme, as one is allowed to do!
As a medical student and junior doctor it was drummed into me to ask the patient and not trust the record or even other doctors. When people report having to give their details several times it is down to this training as much as anything else. I don't know if this is still the mantra.
In any case you look pretty daft if you don't ask the patient if they are allergic to penicillin before giving it. It is a trivially easy check that will one day save a patient (and rather more selfishly, my career). The same is true for checking which leg need to come off
Of course this renders the case for the SCR rather less than it would otherwise be, but I know what I would want my doctor to do.
I also have doubts about the need for an SCR in the first place. I'm currently living in a country which doesn't have it and the health system works very well. I "own" all my records and yet amazingly doctors don't kill people by giving them the wrong treatment!
When people report having to give their details several times it is down to this training as much as anything else. I don't know if this is still the mantra.
I recently went in for day surgery and can confirm that this approach is used here. When I checked in, they asked me what I was there for. I was then put under the care of a person who made sure that I had a ride and all other details and she confirmed what I was there for. On the surgery floor I was asked again, and once more in the operating room just before the procedure. It doesn't get any safer than that, and I was very pleased, indeed relieved, that they were following such a procedure.
Your local Trust IT Dept. will not be interested in your problem as they have nothing to do with what is a national database. I work in IT for the NHS and all we do is provide the relevent short cut on the desktop and software that authenticates the user via a smartcard.
What about 27b/6 ?
Another IT disaster?
Project management in the NHS is terrible and Gavin is wise - don't assume.
Sadly Oldcodger's comment isn't a surprise, I opted out of SCR at my local practice because of this kind of screwup.
Once I went into surgery and the surgeon hadn't received my case notes. Fortunately he talked things over with me and we were happy he knew everything that was required.
How big is the SCR database?
And how long will it before someone takes a copy on a memory stick home, and loses it on a train?
The SCR has already been breached at least twice
The SCR database is the same database breached last year by a medical research company that allowed six laptops to be stolen, and one of the laptops was used to access the database _after_ the theft. They never were able to ascertain how much or how little data was accessed/copied.
The storage and maintenance of the SCR database is also provided by a US-based company, which makes all of the information stored within it subject to disclosure to the US Government on request, thanks to the US PATRIOT Act.
And who else has access to it?
Not only is there no provision for the patient to check the accuracy of the said record, but you can assume that various other bodies have access, if not directly to the content of it at this moment, most certainly to the content of it indirectly, via GP access. For starters, at the present moment information on patients is shared with Social Services, the Police and the Local Authority's Education Service. Once it gets out that far, you can expect absolutely no confidentiality.
Furthermore there's a most disturbing feature with all those bodies that an opinion voiced by a "professional" from one of those bodies achieves the status of a fact when it is passed on to another body,
- Product round-up Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows
- Review Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards
- Product round-up Ten Mac freeware apps for your new Apple baby
- Analysis Pity the poor Windows developer: The tools for desktop development are in disarray
- Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'