Headlines: September 8th, 2000

There’s been a warning that the NHS-wide network (NHSnet) might not be up to the job of providing quality ICT support to clinicians. It comes from a group of university researchers and clinicians in Salford who believe they have found a safer and more cost-effective system. They publish their findings in this week’s British Medical Journal (BMJ).Using an existing information system based in Salford, the team have developed a secure internet connection that provides patient information to general practices or even patients’ homes – where GPs seeing sick patients need immediate access to this information. Home access would not be possible using NHSnet, they point out.

They have ensured patient confidentiality by using strong encryption and user authentication – stronger methods than those used within NHSnet, they say. Also, they say their system is easier to use, by being integrated with familiar browsers such as Internet Explorer. This system is as safe, if not safer than, NHSnet, say the authors, and could be applied to most, if not all, forms of chronic disease management. Link: www.bmj.com