British Computerized Records Review Mixed

LONDON, June 18 (UPI) — A three-year study of computerized health records in Britain found better patient care but not as many cost savings as expected, researchers say.

Researchers at University College London evaluated the program from 2007 to 2010 at three sites involving 400,000 patient visits at clinics and primary care walk-in centers. The researchers also interviewed 140 policymakers, managers, clinicians and software suppliers involved in the program.

By 2010, 1.5 million summary care records for patients had been created, the study found.

Incorporating the computerized records was a complex, technically challenging and a labor-intensive process that was implemented much more slowly than anticipated, researchers said.

The program varies depending on location. The computerized records were available from 0 percent to 84 percent of the time.

“This evaluation has shown that some progress has been made in introducing shared electronic summary records in England and that some benefits have occurred,” the study authors said in a statement. “However, significant social and technical barriers to the widespread adoption and use of such records remain and their benefits to date appear more subtle and contingent than early policy documents predicted.”

The findings are published in the British Medical Journal.

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