Headlines: February 25th, 2004

Patients in three pilot surgeries announce their arrival by touching a pad with their thumb. Using the thumb again in a kiosk inside the surgery they can access their medical records. They can inspect their consultation record, common test results, such as blood count, as well as letters to and from the practice. They can also get access to leaflets and information about conditions at the touch of a button. Print- outs are available for all the screen displays.Dr Fisher, the project executive and clinical lead, said “The arrivals system has definitely saved time for receptionists without a feeling of distance or poorer service for patients. Access to records has also gone well. There has been some reorganisation at reception to ensure fingerprinting is carried out systematically. It takes only a few seconds, but with 8500 patients, that still takes up time.”

The trial has been running for almost a year and research is being conducted examining patients’ and staff reactions to the system.