Patient records keep the doctor away

by Charles Wright on December 1, 2011

I’ve written about Dr Amir Hannan’s personal campaign to make patients’ health records available to them, and now the English GP goes further in a piece in The Guardian’s Healthcare Network, in which he says that patients who have access to their records and the resources their doctors use report needing to see their doctor less often and feeling better prepared to navigate the health system.

Dr Hannan’s practice began offering patients online access to their records five years ago and is now among around 100 practices in the UK who do so.

The article describes the results as “a quiet revolution that is gathering pace”. Now more than 1600 patients – 14 per cent of the practice – have signed up for access, and the numbers are now increasing more quickly than at any time in the past.

“Most patients go to their GP when they have a health problem, need a referral or ongoing treatment. It is therefore natural for patients to be enabled to securely transact with their practice via the web – in the future that is also likely to extend to patients interacting with a list of symptoms and appropriate medical history prior to a consultation, enriching the consultation experience and allowing underlying symptoms to be expressed,” Dr Hannan writes.

He suggests that participatory medicine will increasingly be the key to meeting the challenge of finding huge efficiency savings as the costs of healthcare escalate.


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