OBJECTIVES:The aim of this paper is to discuss the increasing use of computers in undergraduate medical education and explore the why, what and how of providing IT facilities to undergraduate medical students when they are on placement in general practice. Adequate computing facilities are usually available within hospitals and medical schools, however, major changes are taking place in undergraduate education resulting in more teaching being undertaken in the community. Students will therefore need access to comparable facilities whilst in primary care settings in order for their training not to be compromised. SETTING:This paper describes one initiative addressing this need: the University Linked Practices (ULP) project in the Department of General Practice and Primary Care at St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry. DESIGN:We discuss the ways in which computers are currently being used in medical education and discuss some of the merits and drawbacks that are associated with this increasing drive to computerization.