Accelerated Health Records Access
Patients will shortly be able to see much more of their medical records that they been able to up to this point via online services or the NHS App. As I am sure you will appreciate, a medical record contains highly sensitive, personal information, and even information about other people e.g. a patient’s family members.
Nearly all information in a patient record is coded, which helps NHS staff to identify health trends both nationally and locally, and patients who might be e.g. at risk of certain conditions or complications. Healthcare professionals have to be mindful that some information they enter on a patient record might be distressing or confusing to patients, or even have the potential to cause harm.
All surgeries have been encouraged to run a report to identify patients who have certain codes on their records which may indicate there is sensitive information in that record. These codes are likely to relate to mental health conditions, safeguarding concerns, or suggest that the patient may not have capacity to understand what is in their record.
Even if a patient does have a sensitive entry on their record, this does not automatically mean they cannot see that information. Rather it means that we health professionals need to take a closer look at the record, and where appropriate a discussion with the patient before granting the access.
The practice is in the process of planning how to roll out the access to patients with guidance from the British Medical Association. We will also be meeting with the Patient Participation Group and will keep you updated with any changes.