Accelerated access to online medical records

Patients will shortly be able to see much more of their medical records than they have been able to up to this point via online services or the NHS App. As I am sure you will appreciate, a medical record contains highly sensitive, personal information, and even information about other people e.g. a patient’s family members.

Nearly all information in a patient record is coded, which helps NHS staff to identify health trends both nationally and locally, and patients who might be e.g. at risk of certain conditions or complications. Healthcare professionals have to be mindful that some information they enter on a patient record might be distressing or confusing to patients, or even have the potential to cause harm. 

All surgeries have been encouraged to run a report to identify patients who have certain codes on their records which may indicate there is sensitive information in that record. These codes are likely to relate to mental health conditions, safeguarding concerns, or suggest that the patient may not have capacity to understand what is in their record.

Even if a patient does have a sensitive entry on their record, this does not automatically mean they cannot see that information. Rather it means that we health professionals need to take a closer look at the record, and where appropriate a discussion with the patient before granting the access.

Prior to these reports being run, the Partners have made a decision to only allow online access to all records once we are sure we have identified any patients who may need to be excluded from full access for the reasons as stated above. We aim to get this done as soon as possible. 

The Practice would like to thank you for your patience.

Angela Black – Practice Manager.

On behalf of the GP Partners