Following my frustrated experiments with three personal health records last week, Brian Fisher, a GP in south London and public and patient involvement lead at the NHS Alliance, has drawn my attention to another option.
He and two colleagues have developed a system that is already allowing practices to give patients access to their records on the internet. They company is called the Patient Access to Electronic Record System Ltd.
Spread of their personal record solution so far is fairly limited (about 50 practices) - my GP is not signed up so I can’t test it beyond the screen-shots on the website.
Dr Fisher is lobbying to get the system taken up by more GPs and is hoping for support from primary care trusts. It can help them address priorities, for example by targeting smoking cessation adverts at known smokers or issuing alerts recommending check-ups.
The system links with the Emis IT already used by most GPs. Electronic versions of the records are stored at surgeries - the summary care record is not involved, which appears to suit the devolved approach being backed by the Tories.
Patients get to see most information held about them but, in a feature which highlights some of the barriers involved, GPs are allowed to stop them seeing “free text” notes recorded before open-access was introduced. It is to allay doctors’ fears about their patients seeing text (despite it being about them) that they were never meant to.
As far as I can see Paers demonstrates what is possible when motivated experts just get on with it (and innovate), but also the dilemma of having various approaches and solutions around when patients may be looking for just one.