Doctors voice online records fears

A large majority of British doctors (84%) believe that the introduction of online medical records will require them to spend longer explaining their content to patients.

More than two thirds (68%) of doctors and 63% of the public agree that the most important function of medical records is to give the doctor an overview of a patient’s past medical treatments, according to a survey by the Medical Protection Society (MPS).

However, there is a gulf between the technical language the records are written in and the way patients would like them to be written.

Three quarters (75%) of the public said that medical records should be written in simple language so they are easily comprehended, but only one in five (21%) doctors agreed, the survey found.

“Online medical records have the potential to transform patient care and making these available electronically will undoubtedly increase patient access,” Dr Nick Clements, head of medical services at MPS, said.

“However our survey also showed differing expectations on how records should be written. If this issue isn’t reconciled before online records are introduced, this could lead to tension and confusion between doctors and patients.”