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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2006 July 15; 333(7559): 147.
PMCID: PMC1502212

To opt in or opt out of electronic patient records?

Poor training of locums in using hospital computer systems poses risk
Amir Ismail, MSc student
ku.ten.srotcod@liamsirima, Division of Surgery, Oncology, Reproductive Biology and Anaesthetics (SORA), Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, London W12 ONN
Muhammad Ismail, MSc student

Editor—Norheim highlights the expansion of computerised health care.1 Having undertaken several locum doctor appointments while undertaking a higher degree, we have noticed some serious failings in training for locum doctors in using hospital computer systems. Frequently doctors share passwords for electronic patient records and hospital computer systems as it is difficult and often time consuming to attain their own passwords, especially when very short term locums are being undertaken. This should be avoided at all costs as it compromises data security.

Locum doctors should ensure that they are given basic training in using these systems as part of their induction at a new hospital, as well as individual passwords. This may be achieved through the information technology department or the clinical risk manager for out of hours duties. If necessary, locums should turn up before the start of their shift for such training. In the future, doctors could be assigned a universal password for use in all centres they work in; however, they would still require training for each different system used.

Ensuring adequate training at this stage in developing computerised health care is crucial to its eventual success.


Competing interests: None declared.


1. Norheim OE. Soft paternalism and the ethics of shared electronic patient records. BMJ 2006;333: 2-3. (1 July.) [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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