Hospital's online health record set to reshape NHS IT

A personal online patient health record developed by experts at Southampton’s teaching hospitals is set to reshape the way IT is used in the NHS.

My Health Record, a website that allows patients at UHS to access parts of their health record from home, has been named one of the top seven innovations to look out for in 2013 by website eHealth Insider.

Created by the information management and technology team in collaboration with doctors and nurses at Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals, the site feeds into Microsoft’s HealthVault – an online tool which enables people to store a range of health information for personal use and to share between care providers.

The innovation, currently being piloted among patients with inflammatory bowel disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or maternal diabetes, gives staff the opportunity to make information which is held in clinical and administration systems, such as upcoming appointments, test results and consultant advice, available to patients online in an instant.

Additionally, patients can keep daily diaries on their health, upload data from medical devices used at home – such as blood pressure, blood sugar and lung function – and communicate with their clinicians, including consultants and specialist nurses, without attending hospital.

“We want to create a culture that encourages patients to take much more control over their own healthcare and this project is helping us to do that,” said Adrian Byrne, director of information management and technology at UHS.

“By improving and making communication between clinicians and patients more accessible, and giving patients more independence, we hope My Health Record will lead to a reduction in hospital appointments, admissions and readmissions while actually increasing patients access to their specialists."

The information collected via My Health Record and held in a person’s HealthVault, including charts, graphs and tables to provide an overview of trends, can be made available to various clinicians or other carers if the patient allows access.

Ewan Davis, an independent IT consultant and author of eHealth Insider’s Seven for ’13 list, said: “Putting patients at the centre of healthcare has long been a policy focus for the NHS, and this desirable move is finally being reflected in the development of health sector IT.

“Work around GP record access is the most significant development, but the growing value of personal health records in specialist areas is showing what can be achieved [and] important examples where there have been progress in 2012 include the My Health Locker development at South London and Maudsley and the My Health Record project at University Hospital Southampton.”

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