Guide to Health Records Access

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This guide is aimed at practitioners, managers and patient organisations in health and social care in the UK and brings together the perspectives of policy makers, clinicians, suppliers and patients themselves.

It sets out a vision for the future of Personal Health Records, and an understanding of some of the challenges and barriers which must be overcome in order to realise their full potential. It points to solutions to these barriers and is, in effect, a call to action. The case studies illustrate the current status of record access around the UK and the rest of the world.

Chapter 1 defines Personal Health Records (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 record 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, such as improved health and communication, 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 practice. 

Chapter 4 describes the benefits of PHRs from the commissioner and health system perspective. It summarises what steps towards record 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. 

Finally, there are chapters with case studies, and further reading, useful resources, anda glossary of terms.

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