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Digitising the Red Book

30 May, 2012 (09:10) | Casenotes, child health records, EPR, hand held records, IT fallacies, paediatric data, Paper Records | By: rupertfawdry

I seem to be increasingly overhearing comments on a plan to provide an electronic version of “The Red Book,” by which I understand the ‘smaller than A5’ landscape floppy red cover booklet which now seems, as a paper document, to be universal for children throughout the UK.

Only trouble is that everyone seems to think that the “Red Book” (not to be confused with what GPs used to call “The Red Book” which I think was a schedule of GP fees) is universally agreed, but I have in my hand 4 different versions of “The Red Book” (York, Milton Keynes, Ealing and Brighton), all of which differ in the history dataset they use; and I am now fairly sure that every region has a different version.   Not a problem for a paper record, but a major problem if electronicised.

In view of this, and since no single authority has  been (and probably will not be) able to set a universal standard, we are currently putting specimen copies of these red books onto EEPDwiki so that all may contribute to the essential debate (either by signing on to EEPDwiki  or onto this EEPDtalk website) – then at least we can start to see – electronic data item by electronic data item – what can easily be universally agreed and what can vary from place to place. By using such an on-line debate we can use the wisdom of crowds.
See New Scientist this week on the evolutionary advantages of open debate and the reason why each of us strongly defends their own opinion in the face of good arguments by others – highly recommended article. Also recommended Rewire your Brain by John Arden and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

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Comment from Helga Perry
Time May 31, 2012 at 14:54

According to a press release about the Red Book in Greater Manchester, there have been at least 8 local versions of the Red Book in use in the Greater Manchester area alone! See

Comment from DanMoulin
Time June 1, 2012 at 16:34

I can confirm there is a project underway to deliver an eRedbook or ePCHR (electronic Personal Child Health Record), the project is being delivered by in partnership with Harlow Printing Ltd – pioneers of the current paper-based PCHR (Redbook), Microsoft are also part of the mix and will be supplying the Microsoft HealthVault platform for secure data storage. If you would like to be kept up to date with the project please register or sign up to

Comment from rupertfawdry
Time June 7, 2012 at 16:22

I do hope that the Manchester Red Book working party doesn’t produce yet another unique to them set of flow patterned maternity and neonatal Questions and Answers without any open documentation as to what Questions they have decided to leave out and why and how much they have taken note of the requirements of other interested parties. It may take more time to document such details but we will never make solid enduring progress until it is recognised by all those involved in all enterprises like this that it doesn’t matter if there are differences between the paper red book in Scotland, London, Wales and Manchester etc. so long as any attempt to computerise any electronic data involves a rigidity of data that will only make long term sense if it is internationally standardised. What is needed is a link between the eepdwiki and any sets of data which is in common some are easy e.g. Date and Time of Birth, Surname of Mother but others, e.g. Method of Birth, Anaesthetic used at time of baby’s birth, Place of Birth, need international standardisation

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