The milestone means slightly more than 50% of patients in the region now have the emergency care summaries, which are designed to be used by healthcare staff to treat patients away from their usual GP surgeries.
SCRs contain a basic set of facts about a patient’s health – any allergies they may have, medications they take or poor reactions to medicines they may have experienced in the past.
This information is used when a patient presents for treatment in order to make their care more efficient and prescribing of medications safer.
Dr Graham Evans, Chief Information Officer and Director of Informatics at the North East Strategic Health Authority, said:
“We have made strong progress in creating SCRs to improve care for patients.
“It is a fantastic achievement for half of the region’s population to have these electronic care summaries to support their treatment.
“But there is more to do. We are continuing to work with GPs and Primary Care Trusts to make SCRs available for all patients who haven’t opt out of the initiative.
“The feedback we receive from hospitals and urgent care centres where SCRs are now used is that they make care safer and more efficient.”
Major information campaigns - including all patients being sent information packs – have been carried out since 2010 to make patients aware of SCRs and their right to opt out of the initiative.
To date, approximately 1.33% of patients have chosen not to have an SCR created.
The records, which take the key health data from GP practice computer systems and make it available to emergency healthcare staff via an NHS database, are being used at five acute hospitals in the region, one urgent care centre and 46 GP practices.
Research at these facilities demonstrates that the having immediate access with patient consent to a patient’s allergies, medications and adverse reactions to medicines, makes care safer and swifter.
Discussions are underway to extend their use to an additional 59 GP practices, one hospital and eight urgent care centres before the end of 2012.
A patient must seek treatment and consent to their SCR being viewed before it can be used - unless the patient is unconscious or incapable of making an informed decision about treatment.
Sophisticated monitoring mechanisms are in place to deter inappropriate use of the records and state of the art NHS computer protection guards against the information being accessed by anyone outside the NHS.
Tel: 07817 732 466