The Patient Information Forum (PiF) has released a guide to Personal Health Records (PHRs) which highlights their benefits and sets out the challenges practitioners, managers, and patient organisations will face if they are to meet the government’s target of giving every patient access to their GP records by 2015.
A PHR is a patient-controlled copy of all the health information stored about them by health and social care organisations, to which they can add their own data. Paper examples such as women’s maternity notes and children’s Red Books already exist but the NHS Information Strategy has accelerated the drive towards online access.
The guide, supported by a grant from Microsoft, explores the benefits of PHRs from the perspective of patients and citizens, health and social care professionals, policy makers and commissioners. It also includes a wide range of UK and international case studies.
Chapter 1 defines PHRs and explains the different levels of access, patient co-production
and cross-organisational integration which are possible. It sets PHRs in the context of the development of records access in the UK and the newly launched Information Strategy for England.
Chapter 2 describes the patient and citizen perspective on PHRs. This includes the potential benefits for patients and the public but also some of the risks, such as concerns about safety, and widening health inequalities.
Chapter 3 discusses PHRs from the health and social care professional perspective. It explains some of the concerns about PHRs which have been barriers to their widespread
uptake. It counters these with some of the benefits seen when PHRs are implemented in
Chapter 4 describes the benefits of PHRs from the commissioner and health system perspective. It summarises what steps towards records access are included in the new Information Strategy for England, but also highlights important issues still to be tackled by all four UK health systems in order to give PHRs a chance to realise their full potential.
To download a two page summary of the guide click here.
Download -full guide