Online access to medical records is essential but too many GPs see patient power as a threat

Press Release: Tuesday November 13th 2012
Release time: Immediate

 

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt has today announced as part of the NHS mandate that GPs must allow online access to medical records for patients by 2015.

2020health has for years been a vocal advocate of patients having online access to all their medical and social care records, most recently in their September 2012 report “Personal Healthcare Records: Patients in control?”

However this announcement is not new. David Cameron in his TED speech in Feb 2010 said he wanted to see patients having access to their medical records online; Andrew Lansley also said in May 2012 at the Information Strategy launch said doctors would be obliged to give patients access to their records online by 2015. Yet currently, the Department for Health has projected an uptake rate of 5 per cent by 2015, and the 2020health report suggested that significant work is needed in terms of infrastructure and cultural changes to reach even this modest goal.

Julia Manning, Chief Executive of 2020Health, says:

“The barriers to uptake surround culture and change more than technology. There are many reports of GPs not wanting patients to access their records. This attitude has to change – healthcare is unsustainable if we don’t empower patients with the information to look after themselves better. While security appears to be a concern for those not using the technology, it becomes much less so for those who do use it.

“Our work generally confirmed that where already provided, electronic access facilities are well liked by patients. The evidence points towards an increase in patient knowledge, communication and satisfaction.”

According to the report’s surveys over half of those polled said they already used the internet to assist in monitoring their health, and doctors are increasingly experiencing patients arriving for an appointment having already searched their symptoms on the internet.

John Cruickshank who authored the 2020health report said:

“More and more people rely on the internet for business, banking, shopping and learning, so it shouldn’t be too much of a step change to move towards personalised health Apps and online patient record management.

“The benefits of electronic records access are most palpable to those living with chronic conditions or disability, whose care accounts for 70 per cent of all NHS spending.

“This forms part of a wider need for a change in culture and attitude, with patients no longer being passive recipients of care but being much more involved in its planning and management. The evidence increasingly suggests that patients who engage in this way enjoy  better health outcomes.”

 

ENDS


Note to Editors

 

  1. For interviews, comment or further information please contact Julia Manning on 07973312358

 

  1. 2020health.org is an independent, grass-roots, Think Tank passionate about creating a healthy society. We identify issues and bring informed people together to create these solutions. Please visit www.2020health.org for more information and full publications.

 

  1. The report was released on September 18th 2012. The report was sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from Microsoft. The views expressed in the report are those of the authors.

About Julia Manning

Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer in at City University, visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with Primary Care Trusts and a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She also specialised in diabetes and founded Julia Manning Eyecare, a practice for people with mental and physical disabilities. In 2005 she was a candidate in the general election in a seat she was guaranteed not to win, and in 2006 she established 2020health.org, an independent Think Tank that seeks to both improve individual health and create the conditions for a healthy society. 2020health research publications have covered alcohol, telehealth, employment, the economy, pricing of medicines, biotechology, NHS reform and fraud. Julia is a regular commentator in the media.
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