Putting patients in charge of their own health

With every passing year, more and more people of all ages are using technology in the UK. We hear a lot about 'patient empowerment' and it makes perfect sense that people should be in charge of their own bodies and what happens to them.

How is technology helping to put patients in charge of their own health?

If you have a long-term condition – from asthma to diabetes, to arthritis to heart disease and more – you'll be asked to attend for follow-up with your general practice or your hospital clinic. But in most cases, you'll only spend a total of a few hours a year with your healthcare team. That means the rest of the time, you'll be the one monitoring your health.

From 2022, everyone should have full access to their NHS medical records (except in very exceptional circumstances – such as where their records contain information about someone else). That means everyone has the chance to see and understand more about their test results, their treatment and their care plans.

But there are lots of other ways in which technology can improve your healthcare. Some of the most common include:

  • Ordering repeat medication.
  • Managing which pharmacy your prescriptions are sent to.
  • Booking appointments with your GP practice.
  • Referring yourself to certain NHS services, such as antenatal care or talking therapy.

Technology and patient care – the future

Some newer options which have been shown to make a difference to patients' health outcomes include:

  • Video consultations. These don't suit everyone but can be really helpful for some people who don't have time to attend their GP practice or hospital for appointments.
  • Wearable monitors, which allow you to keep track of your blood pressure, pulse etc.
  • Monitoring your own health at home – eg checking your blood glucose, blood pressure, breathing capacity – and sharing results with your medical team.
  • Medication Assistant within Patient Access. This allows patients to opt in to receive personalised tips and information written by GPs and specialised healthcare authors, based on their medications and health conditions.

Find out more about how technology is helping to put patients in charge of their own health

Find out more