whitestorm - Fotolia

NHS Wales extends GP records access

NHS Wales Informatics Service develops an audit tool, making it easier for hospital doctors and pharmacists to safely access patients’ details electronically

Doctors and pharmacists across Wales will get better access to patients’ GP records when they present to hospital.

The NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) has developed a national intelligent integrated audit solution (NIIAS), aiming to make record access safe and secure across the health service.

Previously, only clinicians in emergency care settings would get access to patients’ GP records in hospital, but Welsh health boards and trusts have now committed to monitor access using the NIIAS system.

The increased security and functionality means that clinicians can now access a patient’s record in outpatient appointments and generally for planned care settings.

Rhidian Hurle, medical director at NWIS, said strict controls are in place to ensure patient information is secure, with an auditable log automatically created when someone accesses a record.

“The extended access to the GP record makes it easier for health professionals to provide safer care, saving them time when getting the correct information about the patients they are caring for and allowing them more time to focus on patients’ needs. It is a win-win for patients and professionals alike,” he said.

Patients will have to give permission for clinicians to look at their records and are able to opt out of the system should they not want to take part.

The move is part of NHS Wales’ digital health and care strategy, which launched in 2015 and aims for a digitally enabled service.

By 2017, patients will also be able to access their own GP records and be able to update their information through an online citizens’ portal. Patients in Wales can already book GP appointments online and order repeat prescriptions through the My Health Online system. 

Read more on Healthcare and NHS IT