More than 450,000 patients in Shropshire will be able to view test results as they come in plus keep track of their glucose and cholesterol levels on their smart phones.
Figures released today show that 62 GP practices across the county are now set up to offer online access to detailed GP records including test results and diagnoses as well as referrals, immunisations, procedures and medications history.
This is in addition to booking appointments online and requesting repeat prescriptions.
This innovation allows for greater control of their care and better management of their health.
More than 95% of practices in England are now set up to offer this service – compared with just 3% of practices in January this year.
This latest step is part of a raft of online GP services available to patients, which are designed to make their lives easier and more convenient.
Offering GP services online has also been shown to be beneficial for GP practices. For example, ‘no show’ rates for appointments booked online are 35% lower than for appointments booked conventionally, saving significant time and resources for GPs.
Dr Ken Deacon, Medical Director for NHS England (North Midlands), said:
“We understand our patients lead busy, complicated lives and finding time to schedule doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions or call up for test results can be a challenge. We want to ensure faster, easier access to GP services and are grateful for the significant effort undertaken by doctors and practice staff across the country to make this happen.
“Offering patients access to their GP record online puts them in the driving seat of their care. Patients with long-term conditions such as heart disease, for example, will be able to track their test results on their smart phone and see how they alter in response to lifestyle changes.”
Dr Imran Rafi, Chair of the Clinical Innovation and Research Centre at the Royal College of General Practice (RCGP) and RCGP lead for the Patient Online programme, said:
“It is very encouraging to see that so many patients now have a way of accessing their GP practice and taking a role in managing their own health online.
“We hope that Patient Online will make our patients’ lives easier and, in time, help to reduce the administrative burden on practices so that all members of the practice team are able to focus more of their time on frontline patient care.”
Greater use of technology to enhance patient care and experience and reduce the administrative burden on GP practices is a key commitment of the General Practice Forward View, launched by NHS England in April 2016. Today’s achievement reveals significant progress has been made on the ambition to support practices to reduce their workload and achieve a paper-free NHS by 2020.
Figures for March 2016 show that 8.5 million patients have signed up to book appointments online with 1.4 million appointments booked or cancelled during March, an increase of over 100% from April 2015.
GP practices and patients who have implemented these services report a range of benefits, including:
- More empowered patients
- Reduced workload for practices
- A more convenient service for all
Hugh Huddy is a registered blind patient who also suffers from long-term asthma. He uses GP online services to access his health information in the privacy of his own home. With a talking smartphone and laptop, he can consult his medical record without having to ask other people to read this to him. Hugh says: "Before I had online patient access, I managed my health in a random and very un-private way – I didn’t feel in control. Patient Online has given me my privacy. It frees you from having to ask for help and I think that’s so important when you’re managing your health.”
Patients who do not have access to the internet can still make appointments with their GP by phoning the practice.