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Health Secretary outlines vision for use of technology across NHS

Patients will be able to access and interact with their GP record online within 12 months, Jeremy Hunt announced today.

Speaking at the NHS Innovation Expo in Manchester, the Health Secretary challenged the NHS to make better use of technology so that patients can be empowered to manage their own healthcare needs, while ensuring that their data remains safe at all times.

Mr Hunt made clear that by 2016 all patients should be able to access their own GP electronic record online in full, seeing not just a summary of their allergies and medication but blood test results, appointment records and medical histories. By 2018 this record will include information from all their health and care interactions.

Mr Hunt said “Powerful patients need to know about the quality of healthcare being provided, but they also need to be able to harness the many innovations now becoming possible…To most of us it feels like there has been more change in the way we book taxis, shop, bank or store photos than the way we access healthcare. Yet for every single one of us healthcare is more important than all of those things…Experience from other countries suggests that opening up access to your own medical record leads to a profound change in culture in a way that is transformative for people with complex or long term conditions….In the UK, 84% of the population use the internet, 59% use a smartphone but only 2% have had any digital interaction with the NHS.”

The Health Secretary stated his ambition to get a quarter of smartphone users – 15% of all NHS patients – routinely accessing NHS advice, services and medical records through apps by the end of the next financial year.

The Health Secretary announced a number of measures to assure the security of confidential medical information during his speech.

This will include a review of standards of data security for patients’ confidential data across the NHS to be carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The National Data Guardian for health and care, Dame Fiona Caldicott, will contribute to this review by developing clear guidelines for the protection of personal data against which every NHS and care organisation will be held to account. She will provide advice on the wording for a new model of consents and opt-outs to be used by the programme that is so vital for the future of the NHS.

The work will be completed in January with recommendations on how the new guidelines can be assured through CQC inspections and NHS England commissioning processes.

The independent oversight provided by Dame Fiona will also be strengthened. Her role will be put on a statutory footing – similar to the role of the Chief Inspector of Hospitals – and the government will consult over the autumn on the best way to do that.

Find out more

Healthcare Conferences UK will be running

Developing Patient Accessible Electronic Patient Records
Tuesday 24 November 
ICO Conference Centre, London

4 September 2015


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