Earlier this week during the chancellor of the exchequer’s autumn financial statement, it was announced that not only will patients have online access to their medical records from 2015, but they will be able to see data on GP performance from December on the NHS Choices website. Furthermore, from next September, the Government will provide a service to link primary and secondary healthcare datasets, which will give NHS professionals, industry, and academia unprecedented access to a wealth of research data. The Government is also expecting to publish prescribing data by September 2012 and health and social care datasets by September 2013.
“Not only will this approach to open data support research and knowledge-based services, it will crucially empower patients to take decisions about their own care and so drive up equality. This will fuel advances in treatment, as well as positioning this country as a centre of excellence for research,” says Andrew Lansley.
These steps toward greater information integration and sharing is exactly what 2020health has been advocating in our many reports and events on information technology and telehealth. Recommendations from our recent learning lunch on integration of services included:
- Allowing patients to access their own medical data
- Publishing data to provide comparative benchmarking between providers, which will both create positive competition and allow patients to make an informed choice about which provider
The Government’s steps towards a more integrated and patient-centered NHS is laudable, and it is forward-thinking planning like this which will ensure that the UK remains a global leader in healthcare and bioscience research.