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Monday 26 September 2016
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Doctors express electronic records confidentiality fear

"Inappropriate access" to Scottish patients' electronic records should be limited with tighter controls, leading medical voices have said.

Politicians to sit on an upcoming debate in Holyrood about the use of technology in the health service received a forewarning from the British Medical Association (BMA).

If Scotland is to become a world leader in electronic health systems, better safeguards are needed in patient privacy, a report to go before MSPs has urged.

Doctors have raised fears about the threat to patient confidentiality of clinical portal technology – computer software that allows health workers to access medical data on a patient – a development which BMA Scotland is "broadly supportive" of.

Dr Alan McDevitt, Deputy Chairman of the BMA's Scottish GPs' Committee, said: "The ease with which patient information can now be shared challenges us to come up with new ways of protecting information they have shared with us.

"With the growing use of electronic patient records, it is essential that we know who has looked at which records and when, so we can ensure only appropriate access."

Dr McDevitt said it "may be commonplace" for staff to share computer user names and passwords.

He said: "While this is already an issue of concern, the risk of misuse in an environment where clinical portals display much more data about many more people is considerably greater."

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