How are we doing with enabling patients to access their GP electronic health record?
We have enabled patients to access their GP electronic health record for the past 13 years and now have over 8,000 patients who have requested access to their records on-line. Many more patients are also ordering repeat prescriptions on-line, booking appointments and cancelling appointments on-line (which gives somebody else the opportunity to take that appontment instead easily)!
In an attempt to try to understand better the needs of patients who have access to their GP electronic health record, we created a local "EMIS code” such that the system clearly states that this patient has access to their records. We have called it "Patient Access to E-Health Record” or "Patient Remote Record Access Enabled". This should be in the Active or Significant Problems in date order list on the Summary Page when patients first log on to see their records (you may well have to scroll down the page to see it). You can see an example of what it looks like by looking at the Test Patient’s record too.
Why code the fact that the patient has access to their electronic health record?
All patients get the same standard of care from the practice whether they have access to their records or not. However there are some specific advantages to patients who have this code added:
We know that you have access and so may ask you questions about if and how having access has helped you in any way when away from the practice
Clinicians may be more inclined to write in your records advice which may help you to manage your condition better eg websites that they may want you to look at to support your care or treatment
Clinicians may write further details about why we have chosen a particular course of action which makes more sense to you. For example we may see a test result and advise you to start certain medication. There may be a further explanatory note which explains why that medication has been started. Of course if it is necessary then we would ALWAYS contact you by phone or letter and not assume that you will pick up a message that is in your record.
It is hoped that patients with this code would also be invited to access other electronic health records once they are also made available for you to see. That is why the code says e-health and not just the GP record.
Presently we have over 7,000 patients who have this code.
Occasionally patients may lose the right to access their electronic health records for instance if they suffer a catastrophic mental health problem and it is deemed unsafe for the patient to access their records. This would be done in the patient’s best interests. An easy way of knowing if the access has been revoked would be to see if the code is still active or whether it has been removed.
So how are we doing ?
We are pleased to report that we have over 7,000 patients with the code confirming they are able to access their records with no significant problems to date. The numbers of patients are going up weekly as more and more questionnaires are filled out and handed back. Every age band now has at least one patient who has access indicating that Records Access is for everybody. You might know somebody who does. Why don’t you ask them to get in touch with the practice to find out more, click on the link below for them to print off or ideally ask them to e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
What else can you do to help?
If you have enjoyed access to your electronic health records then why don’t you ask the rest of your family, friends, colleagues and work friends to get access too. You never know, it could help them one day too.
Ask them to complete an online questionnaire now. They will need to collect their pin numbers from the receptionist too.
What about patients who do not know how to use the internet? Is there any help for them?
There are courses available in the local library and people in the community centres locally who can show them how to go on-line, access their records and learn more about their own health. Members of our Patient Participation Group and our staff would also be happy to help.
What do we want patients to do with Records Access?
Hard to say really because you are individual and you will know why you want access to your records. We know that patients access their records have a better understanding of their own health and are "ahead of the game”.They know what is in their records and find it easy to see any recent letters, test results or scan results and what was discussed in previous consultations.
We would like you to understand your condition better so that you can make better choices about your health and that of your loved ones. Remember your doctor or nurse can also help you with what choices you can make to improve your health. Monitoring your own health and storing aspects eg weight, blood pressure or smoking status can help too. You can find a variety of other trusted sources on the practice website - down the left hand side under Healthcare Websites including NHS Choices, Clinical Knowledge Summaries and Common Problems You Can Solve. Watch this video to help you to understand blood test results and Lab Tests Online.