People's History of the NHS


Art about Patient Records

A broad range of art - cartoons, drawings, sculptures, and photographs - has been created to express the multitude of ways in which people relate to their medical records and to shifts in the storage of such records from paper to digital. Art about patient records has been produced by a wide range of people – children, artists, cartoonists, and surgeons. Artists have recognised that paper records are vulnerable, and may decay, and yet have also criticised the progress of government IT projects. Depersonalisation has been a recurring theme in such works, with both paper and electronic records presented as potentially weakening the relationship between doctor and patient, and also as reducing the person, the patient, to a collection of written and recorded symptoms and signs. (JC)

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