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Improving data sharing between acute hospitals in England: an overview of health record system distribution and retrospective observational analysis of inter-hospital transitions of care
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  • Published on:
    The Summary Care Record: A Forgotten, Underutilized, But Indispensable Tool in the Era of Electronic Records
    • Aditya Borakati, Academic Foundation Doctor Royal Free Hospital
    • Other Contributors:
      • Jamone Singh, Foundation Year Two Doctor

    Dear Editor,
    We read the excellent article by Warren and colleagues [1] with interest and agree wholeheartedly with the need for consolidated access to health records for clinicians across the healthcare ecosystem in the UK.
    As junior doctors, we are often left with the laborious task of sourcing and amalgamating these disparate records for individual patients, with patients often surprised that we do not have access to all their information.
    We note the authors recommend the common adoption of the same EHR software for trusts in the same region and the transfer of records between systems by open APIs. These aims are laudable, however, remain problematic:
    1) Utilising the same EHR between NHS trusts does not necessarily guarantee any further ease of transfer than alternate EHRs; many trusts customise their EHR to their local preferences and hence implementations and data structures may vary significantly between trusts despite adopting the same EHR [2]. Further, even with the same systems, each trust will likely operate on differing domains, often requiring lengthy governance processes to facilitate transfer of records.
    2) Open APIs such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) [3] are available and implemented by the 3 major EHR vendors in the UK [4–6]. Despite this, exchange of records between different NHS trust systems remains limited.
    The Summary Care Record (SCR) was initially intended as a repository of essential medic...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.