Government plans to ‘force’ patient access to their GP records

The government is considering “compulsory” patient access to their GP records, as is done in the United States, he said.

This would allow GP patients easier access to their data and records, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said in its final data strategy, Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data, published today.

Since April of last year, health organizations in the United States are necessary to share medical records with patients electronically and free of charge.

It is still unclear exactly what would be mandated and what it would mean for GPs. The DHSC has been approached for further details.

Patient access to records delayed

Meanwhile, the DHSC has also indicated that patient access to GP records on the NHS app will be delayed until November, following rumors it will launch in July this year.

He said: “We will improve access to GP records in the NHS app by giving patients access to their latest health information (November 2022).”

The DHSC strategy also confirmed that patients will be able to “share information about their sleep or physical activity from wearable devices” to their GP via the NHS app, as the draft plan revealed in June last year.

Meanwhile, the government admitted in the paper that it made a “mistake” when it tried to relaunch plans for mass sharing of patient data last year.

He said: ‘We haven’t done enough to explain the improvements needed in the way we collect GP data. Not only did we not explain enough, but we also did not listen and engage enough. This led to confusion and anxiety, and created the impression that we were ready to move on regardless.

NHS Digital is currently analyzing the results of a survey of practice staff about their views on digital data.

The final data strategy also stated:

Speaking today at the HealthTech Summit, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We will improve trust in data, which is the currency that data-driven technologies need to operate.

“We will work with the public, including people working in health and care, to develop a new data pact, which will define how we will use health and care data, and what the public has a right to wait.”

He added: “This will include the ability to opt out of sharing data because although we know most people want their data used for good, we will make the opt-out system simpler and more transparent.”

Access to innovation

The new strategy comes after NHS Digital has launched a new framework to increase access to innovation and choice in the primary care IT market, as part of its GP IT Futures program which hopes to move medical practices towards cloud-based systems.

The framework will allow commissioners to purchase GP systems, products and services that provide at least six essential functions, including maintaining patient information, managing appointments, recording consultations, prescription, reference management and resource management.

NHS Digital said it was a “blueprint for introducing the next generation of standards for IT systems”.

Helen Clifton, executive director of product delivery at NHS Digital, said: “This will give GPs access to innovative solutions that include the tools they need to make their jobs easier and services that improve the care they need. ‘they provide to patients.’

A version of this story first appeared on our sister title Pulse.

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