GP practices across England have been gearing up to offer a wider range of online services, allowing patients to view test results and keep track of their glucose levels and cholesterol via smartphone.
NHS England reported last week that more than 95% of GP practices in England are now set up to provide online access to detailed GP records including test results and diagnoses as well as referrals, immunisations, procedures and medication history. This is up from just 3% of practices in January this year.
The new services build on the availability of online appointment booking and ordering of repeat prescriptions at GP practices.
Figures show that 8.5 million patients in England have signed up to book appointments online, with 1.4 million appointments booked or cancelled during March 2016, an increase of over 100% from April 2015.
Offering GP services online is beneficial for GP practices as well as patients. According to the NHS, ‘no show’ rates for appointments booked online are 35% lower than for appointments booked conventionally, saving significant time and resource for GPs.
Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England director of primary care and a Tower Hamlets GP, said: “We understand our patients lead busy 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 for patients, as well as support hard pressed practices in becoming more efficient.”
Matthew Swindells, NHS England national director for commissioning operations and information, added: “We want to give people the tools they need to confidently manage their health. Encouraging patients to access their GP record online helps put them in the driving seat of their care.
“Patients with long-term conditions such as heart disease will be able to track their lab results including cholesterol levels as soon as they come back to their GP and see how they alter in response to lifestyle changes.”