The following is a hotly debated topic and one that has the potential to derail carefully laid plans to share patient information across networks and systems. Canada will have to face the scrutiny as our capability to share information becomes greater and the potential risks of access become more evident.
UK doctors will be expected to spend time in every consultation discussing with patients what information about them is shared across NHS computers. This is one of the implications of a "care record guarantee" that the Department of Health published this week to reassure patients and professionals about the confidentiality of data held in systems created for the NHS's national programme for IT (information technology).
Clinical data from GPs' computers and other NHS systems are due to be shared across the new records service from the first half of 2006.
The guarantee makes 12 commitments to patients about their electronic records.
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