Prioritising Patient Records

On 21 May the Department of Health published its information strategy setting out a ten year plan for improving information management across health and social care.  Key targets include providing people with access to their own records online by 2015, promoting online appointment booking and the ability to share test results on line.

The information strategy, subtitled “The power of information” has a two fold aim.  Firstly it seeks to improve the patient-professional partnership by providing patients with access to their records and thereby improve informed choice decisions.  Secondly the strategy recognises that a system which efficiently collates patient records will save time and money as well as improving care.

The proposals have received broadly positive responses.  Although the BMA has raised a concern over security of records, particularly across shared systems, it has also gone on record to say that it supports “the sharing of relevant information between healthcare professionals.”  The Chief Executive of the NHS commissioning board, Sir David Nicholson, commented that the adoption of an information strategy is the first step “in a genuine cultural shift in the NHS that will enable the service to work at its most efficient and give patients real power and choice.”

Certainly the more work which can be done on computerising patient records the better.  Health professionals work in a time pressured environment and time spent looking for records is time which is not spent on patient treatment.    This is one of the reasons why Clinic Appointments instituted its Patient Records service.  This enables health care professionals to upload and view clinical notes, x-ray and scan records as well as client invoices.  The software is simple to use and the secure records can be accessed at any time 24/7.

Keeping patient records in one place means the end of searching for missing records; it means that patient histories can be viewed at a glance and eventually it will mean that information can be shared with others under the information strategy.  Linking the patient records service with diary management and virtual receptionist services frees up clinicians to do what they do best.   So, no more filing, no more searching and no more phone answering, just client treatments.

The Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board have until April 2013 to finalise the information standards and route map.  In the meantime the Clinic Appointments Patient Records Service is there for health professionals who are looking to cut down on administration time now.

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