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GPs to provide online access to coded information in patient record

GPs will have to provide online access to all coded information in the GP record by March 2016, but only if patients request it.

The 2015/16 GMS contract, announced today, promises a ‘further commitment to expand and improve the provision of online services for patients’, including extending online access to medical records and the availability of online appointments. 

But the GPC says that free text and third party information will be excluded.

GPs will also be able to withhold online access to coded information where it is deemed to be in the patient’s best interest, for example test results which haven’t been seen by the GP, or where there is reference to a third party.

Under the 2014/15 GP contract, GPs were required to give patients access to the information contained in Summary Care Records.

Pulse recently reported that since EMIS implemented the capacity to tailor record access, they have seen a dramatic rise in the number of GPs opting to go live with online patient records.

GPs will also have to extend the number of appointments available to book online, though what this means in practice has yet to be specified, and boost uptake of the Electronic Prescription Service.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘We have agreed that during 2015-16, and by March 2016, patients who make an active application to the practice will be able to access detailed records comprising of coded information.

‘Importantly, we negotiated that free text would not have to be accessible. This will avoid legitimate concerns regarding remote access to consultation free text entries.

‘Furthermore, GPs will have the option and configuration tools to withhold coded information where they judge it to be in the patient’s interests or where there is reference to a third par ty. This could include coded investigation results, for instance. We have agreed that prior to the scheme going live, GP systems will be re-configured to enable free text to be redacted.’

In a letter to area teams, NHS England states: ‘We have agreed that the GMS contract will be amended to expand the number of appointments patients can book online and to ensure that there is appropriate availability of appointments for online booking.’

NHS England said they would work with the GPC to promote uptake of other online and electronic services amongst GPs, including getting GPs to offer ‘consultations electronically, either by email, video consultation or other electronic means’.

They have also set the intention of ensuring GPs make 80% of their referrals through the new the elective referral system, E-referrals – introduced to replace Choose and Book after uptake struggled to get above 50%.

The GPC have also pledged that 60% of practices will be using the electronic prescription service  by April 2016, unless legislative or technical ‘enablers’ are yet to be put in place.