Patient Access is a new service provided by Patient.co.uk that helps patients to access their doctor’s surgery online. Around one in four GP practices currently offer this service. For patients to use the service GP surgeries must be using the EMIS medical records system. Patients also need to register for an account before they can log in. There are a variety of features and each surgery can choose which ones to offer. Popular features include checking, booking and cancelling appointments, checking medications and ordering repeat medication and updating contact information.
Patients want to be more involved in their care but feel GPs are currently not delivering good communication or shared decision making, according to a snapshot of opinion published by The Patients Association this week. The recent survey of patients found that 80% want to be more involved in decisions about their care and treatment. However almost 40% of respondents to our survey say they rated their GPs communication skills as five out of ten or less.
Little information exists about what primary care physicians (PCPs) and patients experience if patients are invited to read their doctors’ office notes. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect on doctors and patients of facilitating patient access to visit notes over secure Internet portals. The results showed that 77% to 87% reported that open notes helped them feel more in control of their care; 60% to 78% of those taking medications reported increased medication adherence; and 20% to 42% reported sharing notes with others. Researchers concluded that patients accessed visit notes frequently, a large majority reported clinically relevant benefits and minimal concerns, and virtually all patients wanted the practice to continue. With doctors experiencing no more than a modest effect on their work lives, open notes seem worthy of widespread adoption.
A feature article in this weeks BMJ discusses electronic health records and argues that though giving patients control of their medical records may sound scary to many doctors, it could reduce workload and improve outcomes. The article looks at examples of patient controlled records from across the globe and discusses the benefits and concerns. If you want to know more about patient controlled health records, read the new PiF Guide.
GPs are the most trusted providers of public health information, according to a new UK survey by Populus, on behalf of Open Road, an independent communications consultancy. The data collected, which came from an online survey 4,079 people, showed that this level of trust in GPs contrasted significantly with a general scepticism towards information offered by private companies and the media, at both a local and national level. The next most trusted information source was the Department of Health website. Around half of participants said they would trust information that came from a health charity, where as less than 10% would actually use them.
The objective of this research from Spain was to investigate whether and why doctors practice defensive medicine with their patients. Doctors selected much more conservative medical treatments for their patients than for themselves. Most notably, they did so even when they accurately predicted that the patients would select riskier treatments. When asked about the reasons for their decisions, most doctors reported fear of legal consequences. Doctors’ decisions for their patients are strongly influenced by concerns of possible legal consequences. Patients therefore cannot blindly follow their doctor’s advice. The study authors suggest a plausible method that patients could use to get around this problem: They could simply ask their doctor what he or she would do in the patient’s situation.
A new campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer urges people to go and see their GP if they have had a cough for more than three weeks. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in England. The risk of lung cancer gets worse as you get older, but finding it early improves the chances of successful treatment. The campaign features new adverts – fronted by real-life GPs – in TV, radio, print and online media. The adverts urge anyone who has had a cough for three weeks or more to visit their doctor, or if they have some of the other symptoms of lung cancer.
The BMA’s General Practitioner Committee have said they are concerned giving patients access to their online record could risk their medical history being used against them, and may create more work for GPs having to explain medical terms to worried patients. The committee did not think giving patients access to their records was a bad idea. However, the committee said the GPC did have significant concerns about a number of issues including security and ensuring patients were not coerced into sharing their records with a third party.
The Department of Health in England want to ensure that patients, carers, GPs and primary health care teams and staff providing Informatics services for them get the support that they need for online access to GP Records to be of real benefit to them in their practice or care. Over the next week they would like to invite you to share your initial views and ideas on what support you believe is most needed. You can share your views by taking part in a webinar, an online survey or by emailing them direct.
This pilot programme aims to make it easier for commuters in the pilot areas, who are often away from their local area during the working day, to see their doctor where it suits them. The one year pilot will begin in April 2012 and will be subject to an independent evaluation. It allows patients for the first time to choose whether to register with a practice close to their workplace or home, without worrying about practice boundaries.