The government-commissioned NHS Future Forum says that patients should be allowed to have online access enabling them to both see and edit their medical records.
While patients are already allowed to hold a copy of their records the changes would enable patients have online access to their whole record - enabling them to view their whole medical history, see the results of diagnostic tests and look at their drug prescription history.
The Forum which is chaired by former Royal College of GPs president Dr Steve Field also wants patients to be able to check their next appointment and order a repeat prescription.
It is due to deliver its full report to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in the new year.
Mr Lansley is eager to implement an ‘information revolution’ in the NHS intended to patients more in control of their care.
The Forum believe the reforms could be introduced within three years but is will require a major effort.
According to a report from this summer by the independent Health Foundation while 60% of GP practices have the technology in place to allow patients 24-hour online access to their own patient records, only 50 UK practices have seized the opportunity.
Lord Howe the health minister in the Lords is reported in today’s Times as backing the scheme: “We fully support patients having online access to their personal records. Our vision for a modern NHS is to give patients more information and more control over their health.”