This information is not held centrally. However, we do know that electronic record systems, such as those being delivered by the national programme for information technology, capable of sharing patient information wherever and whenever it is needed, provide more complete data and lead to the delivery of better care. No significant body of medical opinion disputes their enormous potential to support better clinical decision taking and reduce the incidence of medical error.
Evidence from environments where electronic patient record systems are already routinely available and used shows, for example, that the number of failed appointments falls because hospitals have accurate and up-to-date addresses for patients. The number of duplicate diagnostic procedures and tests also reduces so that patients do not have to undergo repeat X-rays, reducing their risk of excess radiation and, importantly, patients benefit from knowing their records are up-to-date.
Systems like these deployed under the national programme, including the choose and book electronic bookings system which puts patients in charge of their care, and the patient demographic system, that enables letters to be posted to the correct address and patient information to be handled more efficiently, are already in place in every national health service trust, supporting access to care. These include an acute patient administration system (PAS) and a community hospital PAS deployed to Milton Keynes General Hospital NHS Trust and Milton Keynes Primary Care Trust respectively on 24 February, consisting of core PAS functionality along with accident and emergency, scheduling, and clinical functionality. These systems will serve 267,000 inhabitants in the Milton Keynes area.