Developing the electronic health record: What about patient safety?

Ruth Boaden, Paul Joyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the development of electronic health records within the National Health Service (NHS) by an analysis of a series of pilot projects funded by the Electronic Record Development and Implementation Project (ERDIP), one aspect of the work of the NHS Information Authority (NHSIA) (As of 1 April 2005, the NHSIA ceased to operate. Much of its work is continued by Connecting for Health and the Health and Social Care Information Centre.) The focus of the analysis is on the extent to which identifying and correcting error within health records was explored through these projects. The inherent potential for error and resultant impact on patient safety is highlighted, by considering the context of the record, the content of the record and the process of change from paper-based or piecemeal electronic health records to integrated electronic health records. While the process of change highlights issues of data security and access, it is the variability in starting points for different organizations that possibly poses most risk to patient safety. Issues relating to the content of the record can to some extent be minimized by the effective use of technology, but the tension between coding and qualitative data requires further consideration in terms of its impact on patient safety. This paper concludes that the development of electronic health records has to be viewed within the context of governance and patient safety, and the implications articulated. © Health Services Management Centre 2006.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-104
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Services Management Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


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