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Smart cards are not fit for purpose

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Staff recognition systems in hospitals, which rely on ‘smart cards’ to let nurses log in, are often slow and take more than a minute to accredit users.

The revelation came in a Commons health select committee report into the electronic patient record, published at the end of last month.

In one case this led to A&E staff sharing smart cards to prevent delays and meant all clinical audit trails were traced back to one person, even though many staff had entered different patients’ details.

Sharon Levy, the RCN’s informatics adviser, said: ‘Too often we are faced with a piece of kit where developers are saying “this is great you can do anything with it”, rather than sit down with us and design something fit for our requirements.’

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