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GP patients in Wales will get access to medical records by 2017

The Welsh government publishes a five-year digital health and care strategy, which includes a citizens’ portal for patients to access their GP records

By 2017, GP patients in Wales will be able to view their medical records, letters and update their information online through a citizens’ portal.

Patients can already book GP appointments online and order repeat prescriptions through the My health Online system.

Further down the line, patients will also be able to view medication information, view any information held by hospitals, community and social care and see which health and care professionals have accessed their records.

Launching the strategy, health and social services minister Mark Drakeford said it sets out the Welsh government’s ambition for digitally enabled health and social care.

“Digital technology is now an important part of our everyday lives. We use it at work, to shop, to bank and to keep in touch with family and friends. Our vision is for more interactive, personalised health and social services, allowing people to access services from wherever and whenever it’s convenient to them,” he said.

“Giving people more control over their care and access to their records is an important part of the notion of co-production – the recognition that health outcomes are maximised when the contribution of patients as well as practitioners is captured and put to work.”

The strategy includes giving patients the opportunity to contribute to their own records. The government said they will be encouraged to update their care plans with “personal goals and achievements”.

Read more about patient access to records

People will also be able to have GP consultations using a smartphone and use mobile devices and apps to monitor long-term conditions. They will be sent “reminders and alerts about personal health and care will be sent digitally, including medication or exercise reminders, appointment alerts and updates on where people are in their care pathway, or progress against their agreed care plan,” the strategy said.

Out of hours services can already access patients’ GP records.

Earlier in 2015, the NHS and local authorities procured the Welsh Community Care Information System, which will allow staff across health and social care to “use a single system and a shared electronic record for individual citizens”, the strategy said.

“By 2016, the Welsh Clinical Portal will be extended to provide a shared view of individuals’ digitally-held care record, accessible across the boundaries of organisations and care settings, viewable whenever and wherever it is needed to support safe, effective care,” it said.

Wales is also developing a patient pathway visualisation and flow management system, which will give staff a real-time view of hospital bed and flow pressures.

Read more on Healthcare and NHS IT