This site is intended for health professionals only

Patients to add ‘sleep and exercise data’ to GP record, Government plans

Patients to add ‘sleep and exercise data’ to GP record, Government plans

Patients will be able to add information about their food, sleep and exercise to their GP record, under the Government’s new health data strategy.

The plan also outlined an aim to create a new statutory ‘duty to share’ records between healthcare organisations, due to come in this autumn.

The new draft data strategy, published yesterday, said patients will be able to share ‘additional data [they] have collected to improve [their] wellbeing, such as sleep, food, exercise and genome’.

GP experts expressed concern that GPs will have to review all the material being uploaded by patients, although the data strategy is vague around this.

The digital strategy said that this will enable clinicians to have ‘information-driven conversations’ with patients about their care.

Meanwhile, patients will have ‘confidence’ that healthcare staff have their ‘up-to-date information’, as they ‘should not have to unnecessarily repeat information on their medical history’, it added.

Hampshire GP and data autonomy advocate Dr Neil Bhatia told Pulse that while patients can already submit information for their record, this is often data requested by the practice such as blood pressure monitoring.

If patients are encouraged to add ‘unnecessary’ data such as around their eating and exercise habits, this could ‘bloat’ GP records, making them difficult to use, he added.

And Dr Bhatia warned of the workload implications if GPs will still have to review all additional information added by patients, as they do now.

He said: ‘I don’t really want to start having tonnes of information from a patient suddenly appear in their GP record, but equally I don’t want it to appear in my in-tray where I’ve got to read through it and decide whether it goes into the GP record.’

He added: ‘Do I really want to know how well you’ve slept, what you’ve been eating and how much exercise you’ve done today? I don’t need to know that. 

‘It’s just going to bloat the GP record, it’s going to be horrendous. It’s hard enough to find the information you need in the GP record, without it being bloated with unnecessary information.’

And the move could also create unrealistic expectations among patients who expect their GP to have read and know all their latest information ahead of their appointment, Dr Bhatia warned. 

The draft strategy will be consulted on, with an online survey to launch ‘soon’, ahead of the final version’s publication ‘later in 2021’, the DHSC said.

It also set out Government ambitions for:

  • Data sharing to be the ‘norm and not the exception’, with a new statutory ‘duty to share’ and ‘comprehensive’ record sharing to be in place between GPs and hospitals by 2024
  • Each ICS to have a ‘basic shared care record’ between GPs and hospitals by the end of September 2021
  • Patients to have ‘better access’ to their data by 2022 and understand ‘exactly how it is used’ – with ‘further rights’ outlined for people to access their record
  • Publication of a new information governance framework next month – simplified to reduce the administrative burden on staff.

It comes as NHS Digital has said GP practices must set their own dates for the GPDPR opt-out deadline, after giving Pulse a set deadline ‘in error’.

Last month, the Government delayed the date for the mass GP data extraction from 1 July to 1 September, amid concerns the public has not been sufficiently informed.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Mr Marvellous 23 June, 2021 9:34 am

This. is. so. pointless.

Patrufini Duffy 23 June, 2021 9:52 am

USA corporations need more melatonin in the system? Next will be the ADHD and opiod bandwagon.

Michael Mullineux 23 June, 2021 9:53 am

This would be exceedingly useful, as long as the sleep patterns, exercise, food intake and may I suggest the addition of daily bowel habits (including consistency and timings) are detailed in diary format for the last 10 years, preferably colour coded ….

Turn out The Lights 23 June, 2021 9:56 am

The clinical records will be swamped with a mountain of useless information.Good luck trying to make a diagnosis in this fog of data.

Andrea Barrow 23 June, 2021 11:37 am

This absolutely IS useful and should be prioritized.
Adverse covid outcomes are significantly related to”lifestyle” factors,
Unless these lifestyle parameters become the starting point of consultations about the management of LTC, not just more medication and obesity management plans, rising numbers of DM IHD and LTC will continue.
Regular exercise plays a huge role in cancer prevention and reduction in recurrence
There is a lot of confusing information for patients, and unless the clinical staff takes a lead to guide patients with evidence-based information then both pharmaceutical companies and the food industry will continue to profit from this.

BSLM has a wealth of information for those who are interested.

Michael Mullineux 23 June, 2021 12:12 pm

I’ve been advocating healthy lifestyles in general practice for 30 years and may have converted a handful of patients to make changes The positive return is miniscule. Lifestyle is a choice linked closely to education and opportunity. Some make healthy choices and always have even despite the odds, many don’t and never will. The information about lifestyle choices is out there and I disagree that it is confusing. Great that you are a keen lifestyle emissary, but having this information to process (largely from those already living healthy lifestyles as per inverse care laws) in medical notes will make negligible difference.

John Graham Munro 23 June, 2021 12:45 pm

Never could fathom out why my colleagues need to trawl through a patient’s notes—it only makes—-dare I say it—-more work!

terry sullivan 23 June, 2021 7:51 pm

ffs–p off