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Online access to all health records by 2018

Plans set out to improve digital patient access

Jo Carlowe

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Radical plans to give all patients online access to their GP records have been unveiled.

Established by the Department of Health and chaired by NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey, the National Information Board today set out his vision for how technology should work for patients by 2020.

The vision commits to giving everybody online access to their GP records, viewed through approved apps and digital platforms, by 2015. 

GP practices are already on their way to achieving patient access but under these new proposals people will have access to health records held by hospitals, community, mental health and social care services by 2018. 

Under the proposals, within four years, every citizen will be able to access their health records at the click of a button, detailing every visit to the GP and hospital, every prescription, test results, and adverse reactions and allergies to drugs. Patients will also be able to record their preferences and thoughts alongside official medical notes.

The alliance will establish a national digital standard for people at the end of life – building on the success of Co-ordinate My Care in London – so their care preferences are respected. The digitisation of the Personal Child Health Record (the red book) will offer new mothers personalised mobile care records for their child.

Tim Kelsey, National Informatics Director, said: “New mothers will now be able to carry their red book around with them on their smart phone and tablet as the NHS moves towards offering digital Personal Child Health Records. This will put an end to worrying about leaving your child’s information at home when going for a review, vaccination, or emergency treatment.

“We must embrace modern technology to help us lead healthier lives, and if we want - to take more control when are ill. Our ambition is to make the NHS a digital pioneer for our patients and citizens."

The framework will set out how real time data will be available to paramedics, doctors and nurses, ensuring patients receive safe and effective at the point of care. All NHS funded care services are expected to have digital and interoperable systems that remove the limitations of paper records and slow bureaucratic systems by 2020. 

The plans also include:

  • NHS ‘Kitemarks’ for trusted smartphone apps
  • Patients to be able to access their own GP record from spring 2015, and will have full access to care records by 2017.  
  • With consent, care records will be available electronically across the health system by 2018 for urgent care services and 2020 for all services 
  • Introducing a digital ‘red book’– helping parents to manage their child’s early health records - in 2016
  • Developing innovative personalised medicines will mean the right treatment, first time.

Commenting, Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “Being smarter with data and technology has the potential to make a world of difference to patients, while ensuring best value for the taxpayer.”

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