NHS admits online records for all by April 2015 is ‘ambitious’

A target for everyone to have access to their medical records online by April next year is “ambitious”, NHS England has admitted.

The admission came after the government revealed that just a fifth of people currently have online access to their medical records, although this is a significant increase from two percent at the same time last year.

However NHS England said it is committed to helping GP practices achieve access for all. It will now focus on the practices that aren’t offering online services, find out what the barriers are and figure out how to overcome them, a spokeswoman told ComputerworldUK.

The aim, first announced in November 2012, is part of a contract between the NHS and GPs which requires GPs to expand the range of online services on offer, the spokeswoman explained.

NHS England has been working with GP representative body the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to try to address concerns raised by practices, for example access for vulnerable people.

It has also launched an interactive support and resources guide to help GPs deliver patient services online, including practical tools on implementing online services.

NHS statistics show the share of people able to book appointments and request repeat prescriptions online has also increased, up from 64 percent for both last year to 91 percent and 88 percent respectively.

An NHS England spokeswoman told ComputerworldUK these figures show “a real appetite to have these services from both GP practices and patients alike”.

NHS England expects all GP practices to allow patients to see their summary records online by next April, an aim announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in November 2012.

Last month the NHS announced a commitment for all citizens’ health and care records to be available digitally in real-time by 2020.

The ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020’ strategy said NHS bodies will agree interoperability standards for records and plans for them to be embedded by April 2015, with commissioners to develop ‘roadmaps’ for their introduction by April 2016.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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