Information Technology in General Practice: current use and views on future development

Arfan Ahmed, Anita Berlin


Objective: To ascertain general practitioners current use of computers and their views on future development of information technology in general practice.
Design: Postal questionnaire sent to general practitioners.
Setting and subjects: 189 general practitioners working within the Kensington, Chelsea & Westminster (KCW) Health Authority area in London.
Results: Three-quarters of computerised general practitioners recorded some or all consultation details on computer. 70% used the computer to generate prescriptions during consultations, and 98% for repeat prescriptions. 91% of all (computerised and non-computerised) general practitioners were in favour of electronic links between hospital and surgery computers, with the majority wanting access to text-based reports and letters from hospital. 45% wanted access to X-rays, and only a third wanted access to MRI and CT scans.
Conclusion: The majority of general practitioners use their computers during routine consultations. Most general practitioners want links to hospital computers to access text-based hospital reports and letters and these links should be introduced. They are less enthusiastic about accessing radiological images.

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