Release time: 00.01hrs Weds 16th 2013
JEREMY HUNT CHALLENGES NHS TO GO PAPERLESS BY 2018
Responding to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that he wants the NHS to be paperless by 2018, Julia Manning, CEO of 2020health said:
“Jeremy is right that it’s crazy that we don’t have electronic access to our health records. We are all used to online banking, shopping and social media and healthcare has lagged far behind.
“It is vital however that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the National IT programme and try to do too much at once, with people not understanding the benefits or having confidence in the system. The focus must be on electronic Personal Health Records (PHR), over which patients have control and which they (or a nominated person) share with professionals. The NHS and social care need to ensure our GP, hospital, dental, social care etc records can be viewed by patients through a PHR platform and that they can interact with professionals through this. A system which allows professionals to share information without the patient’s knowledge is no longer acceptable. A paperless system will flow from this, but this must be the focus.”
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?”
Currently, the Department for Health has projected an uptake rate of 5 per cent by 2015 for GP records online, 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 added:
“The barriers to uptake surround culture and change more than technology. There are many reports of GPs not wanting patients to access their records. We’ve had the right to see our records for 20 years but professionals still write unintelligibly and resist requests to view them.
This attitude has to change – healthcare is unsustainable if patients aren’t empowered with the information to partner in their healthcare. While security appears to be a concern for those not using the technology, it becomes much less so for those who do use it. The evidence points towards an increase in patient knowledge, communication and satisfaction. This will produce the savings – by reducing demand, enabling self-care and improving efficiency.”