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.
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.