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The white screen of death is back again?

Nigel Masters is a retired GP. He summarises incoming medical notes.

The ‘White screen of death’ was a well-known computer issue in early Microsoft Windows Computers and was caused by either a hardware or software issue. As one might expect it was an annoying occurrence but fortunately seen most in home personal computers. Recently I had a déjà vu experience as I looked onto the white screen of a newly registered patient and found empty allergy fields, problem lists, consultations and immunisation screens. As a summariser of incoming records working in the engine room of the primary care ship I was struck by the similarity of feelings when seeing this screen and the experience of that white screen of death. Frustration that I would be unable to resolve the problem without expert help and usually would end up trying a workaround to keep things on course.

  I put a note in the consultation record that the notes have been reconstructed as GP2GP electronic transfer of the notes has failed.

I have paper printouts of the electronic record and an old Lloyd George envelope filled with blue, white and brown scribbled cards. I have a scanned copy of the welcome pack information provided by the patient on joining the practice. With this to hand I laboriously re-enter problem codes, allergic information and immunisations.

I am not aware of any auditing to track such issues nor a responsible named individual to contact to navigate a solution.

I put a note in the consultation record that the notes have been reconstructed as GP2GP electronic transfer of the notes has failed. I believe such notes transfer failure is less common these days but just one is one too many. I am not aware of any auditing to track such issues nor a responsible named individual to contact to navigate a solution. I give up and go onto the next set of incoming notes and cross my fingers that all will be well.

Deputy Editor’s challenge: if any readers are familiar with efforts to tackle this problem, do comment below!

Featured photo by Quaritsch Photography on Unsplash

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