Electronic patient records will revolutionise Hounslow's NHS
Patient Care System aims to assure greater efficiency
Patients in Hounslow will shortly have access to more efficient treatment with the advent of electronic health records. The records – shared between GPs and other health professionals such as A&E staff, paramedics, district nurses and health visitors - will mean that any health professional can access the relevant information about a patient, so that they can be treated anywhere and at any time.
Hounslow Primary Care Trust has been developing its Integrated Patient Care (iPC) system for two years, with the aim of improving communication between health professionals to benefit patients. Traditional methods of communication – by letter, telephone and fax – can lead to delays in communication, with not all health professionals having the latest, up-to-date information about a patient. The iPC system will ensure they have access to such information at the touch of a button – which could save a patient's life in an emergency.
John James, Chief Executive of Hounslow PCT, said “Storing and sharing medical information electronically will allow doctors and other health professionals to look at your health records, so that wherever and whenever you need treatment, the person treating you has the most up to date information about your medical history.
“At the moment, only your GP can see your general practice records. But there can be times when other medical staff will need to know relevant parts of your medical history. You may have to visit a consultant at a hospital. Or you may be involved in an accident. And finding out about your medical history can take time.
“Repeating information and trying to remember details of your own medical history can be difficult. Most of us simply don't keep all of that information in our minds all of the time. Electronic patient records will mean that different health professionals won't have to ask patients the same questions. It will also mean that in an emergency, hospital and ambulance staff will know your medical history and what medication you are taking.”
The iPC system has been successfully piloted and tested for security and this has been confirmed by independent audit, however, Hounslow PCT is currently in the process of contacting all patients to offer them the opportunity to ‘opt out' of having their records stored – as required by data protection legislation.
Any patient who wishes to opt out should take one of the following options.:
return the form issued in the free Hounslow Borough Council magazine, HM
ask for a form at their GP practice
contact the PCT's Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on freephone 0800 953 0676
write to Electronic Patient Records (Opt-Out), Hounslow Primary Care Trust, Phoenix Court, 531 Staines Road, Hounslow TW4 5DP.
March 3, 2004