Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that he wants to see one in four smartphone users (15% of all NHS patients) routinely using apps to access NHS advice, services and medical records by the end of March 2017.
As part of the ongoing drive to deliver services digitally wherever possible, the government has put forward plans for the NHS to make better use of technology. The aim is to empower patients to manage their own healthcare needs, while ensuring that their data remains secure at all times.
Speaking at the recent NHS Innovation Expo in Manchester, the Health Secretary said that by 2016 all patients should be able to access their own GP electronic record online in full, allowing them to view not just a summary of their allergies and medication but also blood test results, appointment records and medical histories. By 2018, this record is expected to include information from all their health and care interactions.
As well as enabling patients to read their medical record via smartphone, Hunt wants them to be able to add to it, whether by recording their own comments or by connecting their own wearable devices to it.
Suggesting that healthcare has been left behind in the digital era, the Health Secretary said:
“To most of us it feels like there has been more change in the way we book taxis, shop, bank or store photos than the way we access healthcare. Yet for every single one of us healthcare is more important than all of those things.
“Experience from other countries suggests that opening up access to your own medical record leads to a profound change in culture in a way that is transformative for people with complex or long term conditions.”