Buried in this story from the UK’s eHealth Insider on the fact that the NHS Information Centre is to collect data on which GP practices are offering patients access to their medical records online – the consequence of a promise by Chancellor George Osborne that by 2015, everybody in England will have online access to their GP records (somewhat behind Australia’s schedule) – is a concept that I find quite fascinating: the patient as a health resource.
The idea comes from Dr Amir Hannan, a full-time GP at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres, where more than 1800 patients now have online access to their records. I’ve written about him a few times previously. He has established that patients who have access to their health records and the resources used by their doctors report needing to see their doctor less often and feeling better prepared to navigate the health system.
He says that the slow pace at which the roll-out of online records is proceeding will prevent the UK health system from achieving the productivity gains it needs in five years time.
“Essentially, we have to do more with less,” he says, “and the one resource that we are not using as best we can is the patient. The more we can enable the patient to do, the less of a burden it is going to be on us.”