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GPs back electronic transfer of data

GPs believe electronic transfer of prescribing data between practices and pharmacists will improve repeat prescribing and cut workload, new research has found.

But they are worried patient confidentiality could be compromised by the scheme being rolled out by the

Government.

Many GPs are concerned about allowing community pharmacists access to medical records not related to medication and the strain this would put on the doctor-patient

relationship, the study

revealed.

Study co-author Professor Philip Hannaford, professor of primary care at the University of Aberdeen, surveyed 200 GPs, 200 community pharmacists and 800 patients to gather opinions on electronic transfer of prescription-related information.

Findings in the March issue of the British Journal of General Practice showed 83 per cent of GPs thought electronic transfer was a 'good idea in principle' and would result in fewer lost prescriptions and reduce fraud. Some 69 per cent said that the system would reduce workload.

Professor Hannaford said: 'Some GPs raised concerns in open comments about possible technical problems such as crashing out of the system, corruption of data and management of out-of-surgery prescriptions.

'Others were concerned about the level of financial

investment that might be

required.'

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