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Issue No 3, 16 February 2005

This week EHI Primary Care reveals what practices and primary care trusts in England will have to do to earn their share of the £95 million of the Department of Health incentives for Choose and Book, announced by the health secretary, John Reid, in January.

Individual practices could receive £6,000 by June for doing little more than registering to participate in Choose and Book. If it hits all the incentive payments on offer a PCT could earn an additional £150,000 to £200,000 for introducing Choose and Book, but as usual the devil is in the detail, so read our report to get the full story.

We also report this week that the Scottish Executive Health Department is considering the procurement of an alternative IT system for Scottish GPs.

In Comment and Analysis this week Fiona Barr reports on how NHS staff can benefit from the government's Home Computing Initiative.

And finally a reminder that the closing date for 2005 E-Health Innovation Awards, being jointly run by E-Health Insider and Intellect, is 1 March. Details on how to enter the awards and book your ticket for the presentation dinner can found at the E-Health Innovation Awards website.

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Practices could get £6,000 for Choose and Book by June
GPs could receive about £6,000 per practice by the end of June this year if their primary care trust meets the Department of Health?s targets for Choose and Book, according to implementation details.

Scotland considering buying replacement GP system
The Scottish Executive Health Department is considering the procurement of an alternative IT system for Scottish GPs.

InPS updates Vision with DXS software
In Practice Systems has announced that it is to upgrade its Vision system with a free version of Point of Care, a decision support software package from DXS.

£300k offered for research into NHS IT attitudes
The NHS Service Delivery and Organisation R&D programme have put out a call for proposals, offering £300,000 for research into topics including attitudes of healthcare professionals towards e-health and how uptake of technology can be increased.

NPfIT urged to communicate with nurses
The Royal College of Nursing have called for better communication between nursing staff and the National Programme for IT, and has offered to help the programme reach out and talk to them.

Brother

LaptopCheap as chips
The Home Computing Initiative provides savings for both employees buying PCs and their employers. Fiona Barr looks at how it works in the NHS.

Waiting to connect
How soon will GP2GP transfer be possible? E-Health Insider Primary Care looks at progress so far, and how much of the NPfIT needs to be in place before it becomes operational.

NPSA backs biometrics for patient identification in GP surgeries
A report commissioned for the National Patient Safety Agency has recommended that biometric technology, such as iris scanning, would be the most appropriate method of identifying patients in the context of primary care. Researchers at Cambridge Consultants cited the example of Wells Park Surgery, Sydenham, London, where fingerprints are used to identify patients who want to access their records. Other systems, such as barcoding and RFID tagging, are more appropriate for use in other areas of care. "The use of technology to prevent mismatching is clearly both desirable and achieveable but requires a methodical approach," concluded researchers.

Data sharing project developed by PCT nominated for award
Hillingdon Primary Care Trust has been nominated in the 2004 Leadership in Health Informatics Accolade Scheme for their Interim Care Programme Approach Database (ICPAD), which allows clinicians access to electronic mental health records across a number of the PCT's legacy systems in several situations, including out-of-hours and in A&E. "It's been done on a shoe-string, and developed in-house," Catherine Knights, Director of Mental Health at Hillingdon PCT, told EHI Primary Care. "We weren't expecting that we would get into the final." Five of the ten nominated initiatives will win £5000 for their work at the Healthcare Computing conference in Harrogate in March.

Breast cancer care guide launched
A guide to the range of breast cancer services available nationally has been launched by the charity Breast Cancer Care. Your Guide to Breast Cancer Services, said to be the first comprehensive guide to breast cancer services, was produced using data supplied by health information service Dr Foster. The guide is intended to support individuals and their families affected by the disease make informed choices about their treatment. Copies are available here.

"Will practices implement Choose and Book for £6,000? Given the money and the
technology our practice would be happy to do so within reason."
Devon GP and chairman of the NHS Alliance Dr Mike Dixon.

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