U.K. National Health Service Hires Microsoft to Create Electronic Patient Records
The United Kingdom's National Health Service has hired Microsoft to help create electronic patient records for each person treated by the agency, BBC News reports. The patient record plan is the "centerpiece" of the British government's effort to update its electronic health system. Health ministers want every NHS patient to have an electronic record by 2005, and the government is "investing millions" to achieve this goal. The records will contain a patient's health history that will be easily transferable between doctors or other health care providers. Progress on the project has been "painfully slow" because hospitals and physicians use a wide variety of machines, operating systems and formats to store patient records, and some providers do not use computers at all. The effort, called "Project Lightbulb," also includes plans for a national electronic patient appointment book and a national electronic health library, which will contain information about diseases and treatments and be accessible to doctors from their computers. Cisco Systems and the British telecommunications company BT also have agreed to participate in Project Lightbulb (BBC News, 12/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.