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Confusion prompts advice over electronic records

New Department of Health guidance is being drawn up

to advise GPs on setting up

and keeping electronic patient records.

The move comes in response to numerous requests from GPs for advice on the scanning of letters.

Dr Gillian Braunold, vice-chair of the GPC's IT sub-committee and a north London GP, said: 'We had an enormous number of people asking what kind of [elec-

tronic] image is secure if

they want to shred the paper letter.

'GPs want to know what image is right to keep it on because some versions can be edited.'

The guidance, being drawn up by the Joint Computing Group of the GPC and RCGP on behalf of the department, will replace the previous information published in 2000.

It is expected to be published in August and will also cover issues raised by the new contract, particularly education and training practice staff.

'It will cover what sort of training is needed and the changes in coding,' said Dr Braunold. 'It will outline the ways to handle training rather than simply saying what needs to be done.'

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