Centralization is what we need!
I am an NHS doctor and we are currently crippled by the lack of centralization in the NHS IT service.
In hospital, there is little IT anyway - medical records are primarily on paper. It can take hours for the paper notes to reach me when I admit a patient to hospital - mostly I just have what the patient remembers and the GP computer print-out of their record summary.
If a patient has something done at another hospital, their local hospital may not have any record.
The X-Ray IT system is fragmented - there are arrangements for some hospital to access other hospitals systems, but this is variable at best. Blood results are the same. GP blood results and hospital blood results are kept seperatley and may be held on different, inaccesible systems
In general practice, all the notes are computerised but only within that surgery. When you move GPs, your data is printed and someone is employed to retype it in to your new surgery's computer system. Letters from the hospital are typed, printed, posted and the scanned into the GP system!
This occurs even with practices in the same shared building - if a patient moves between practices, the notes are printed, the retypes.
If a confused or unconcious patient comes into A&E, we generally have no information unless they have a relative with them.
Patients do not realise this - many times they say to me 'its all on my record'. That may be, but the record may be miles away.
We DESPERATELY need a central record system that can be accessed from anywhere. I understand the privacy concerns but if you collapse in the street, wouldn't you want the receiving doctor to know a bit of background, what you are allergic to, etc? Without a central database of medical information, or even patients carrying it on a smart card that can be read by a nationally agreed system, lives are at put at risk frighteningly regularly.