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Map of Medicine – is it more of a railway than a road?

10 September, 2010 (12:03) | Care Pathways, Initiatives, Railways versus Roads | By: Helga Perry

see Homepage – Map of Medicine.

I always thought Map of Medicine was a step in the right direction.


I have just realised that the Smartcard and Athens versions of Map of Medicine don’t talk to each other! It’s fair enough that the public-access version of Map of Medicine via NHS Choices or NHS Evidence only gives the top layer of access to the national pathways, but NHS staff with both Smartcards and Athens are going to have to be very careful what local information they are entering because what is entered when logged in with Athens won’t show up on the Smartcard login and vice versa – entering the same local info twice (once for Athens login and once for Smartcard login) seems to be the only way round this. That means logging in via both routes to make sure you are not missing anything important that has been added locally.

And my Smartcard login doesn’t give me Map of Medicine access anyway because I am not a Clinician and my Smartcard is only valid for certain admin & clerical support functions (not the right ones, but that’s another story!). Clinicians won’t be able to use their Smartcard access if they want to look at Map of Medicine on a computer that’s not part of the Trust Network that their Smartcard belongs to (or on a Network PC that doen’t have Smartcard access). Athens access is valid absolutely everywhere, so is the easiest way of ensuring widest access for those who need it – but that is too bl**dy simple for the likes of the NHS IT bods who design these systems! I guess they will claim they are too worried about data security – but one is not supposed to include patient-identifiable data in Map of Medicine anyway.

Moreover, it raises an important medicolegal point: if, for example, a gynaecologist looks up a care pathway on the Athens version at home or in the library before going on duty, and there are discrepancies with the Smartcard version but he doesn’t know about them (because nobody seems to be publicising this fact!), how does it affect things if something goes wrong and there’s a complaint? Gynaecologist can justifiably claim to have based his treatment decision on the best available evidence provided by Map of Medicine – but the method of access has determined what local information he could actually see and use.

Sort that one out in court!

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Comment from Helga Perry
Time September 13, 2010 at 13:00

I’ve received an e-mail from Lucy @ Map of Medicine saying, “The ability of the smartcard and Athens versions to ‘talk’ to each other is something we are working on with James Walker at NW SHA.”

This is good news, and I look forward with interest to seeing how their work progresses.

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