The UK’s leading provider of primary care systems, EMIS, is offering the free service to all its practices as part of a nationwide trial.
Surgeries that choose to offer the service to patients will use EMIS Access, to give medical record access from any Internet-enabled PC with a web browser.
Patient Record Access is provided using the PAERS medical record viewer, which appears as an extra option in EMIS Access for patients that have been enabled.
The project – a first in the UK – allows patients to view their records using ‘authenticated access’, which is strictly controlled by individual passwords and PINs.
Patients can view a summary of their GP’s most recent entries, details of consultations, diagnoses, investigations and procedures, results, vaccinations, medication and letters.
Practices also benefit, as patients can view letters, results and immunisations without the need to contact a doctor or a receptionist.
Dr Brian Fisher, whose Wells Park Practice in Lewisham pioneered patient access to paper and electronic medical records, said: “Our research has shown that patient medical record viewing can improve consultations, provide patient reassurance and reduce the risk of error.
“The service will empower patients by giving them greater access to their medical record in a way that is user-friendly, safe and secure.”
The trial is supported by the Records Access Collaborative (RAC) – a group of practices, health professionals and patients dedicated to increasing patient access to medical records.
In addition to rolling out the service, a strong emphasis is being placed on educating patients about records access.
Dr Amir Hannan, a GP at Haughton Thornley Medical Centre, has been leading records access in Hyde.
He said: “Giving patients access to their medical record helps to build the partnership of trust between clinician and patient. At the same time, it encourages improved self-care. This is a positive milestone for both clinicians and patients.”
To help patients find information about items in their record, the easy-to-navigate system includes links to NHS Direct Online, Patient UK and patient information leaflets, so patients can find additional information about items in the record.
Sean Riddell, EMIS’ Managing Director, said the roll out reflects a new era in healthcare delivery. He added: “Increasingly patients are becoming more involved in choosing and delivering their own healthcare, so offering medical record viewing will help patients become more informed when making decisions that affect their health.
“This is another example of how EMIS is working with others to deliver groundbreaking initiatives to improve patient care.”