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Systems enabled to support patient access to health records from 1 November 2022

PDA members working in primary care in England should be aware of the upcoming changes to practices using TPP and EMIS systems and the potential impacts of entries that are made to patient records

Sun 30th October 2022 The PDA

The NHS Long Term Plan published by NHS England and Improvement in January 2019 set out plans for people to be able to access, manage and contribute to digital tools, information and services.  The changes, which are now being introduced on 1 November 2022 mean that clinicians will need to be cognisant of the possible impact of entries which they make to the patient record, for example test results. The new levels of access are configured so that information, such as the outcome of tests and investigations will need to have been checked and filed by the practice before being made available, allowing for clinicians to be able to contact and speak to patients about the results first.

NHS Digital has outlined that “patients with online accounts such as through the NHS App will be able to read new entries, including free text, in their health record. This applies to patients whose practices use the TPP and EMIS systems.

Arrangements with practices which use Vision as the clinical system are under discussion. The GPIT system configuration is being changed so that existing online users have access to their future, or prospective, health information entered after this change is made. New online users will also receive this level of access by default. General practice will be able to customise or remove access for individuals if this is deemed inappropriate.

The NHS has also confirmed that the changes will apply to the NHS App and all other approved patient facing services apps that provide record access, for example Evergreen, Airmid, SystmOnline and Patient Access.

In a letter to colleagues in July 2022, Dr Ursula Montgomery, NHS England’s Director of Primary Care outlined the details of the changes being implemented on 1 November and measures that are being taken to support preparedness. These included;

  • an updated RCGP GP Online Services toolkit. Providing general practice guidance to manage online records access effectively, efficiently, safely and securely
  • a series of short ‘how-to’ videos on key topics including: an overview of upcoming changes; when and how to redact information; and when to decline access to records
  • details of what has been learned from the early adopter sites, including materials and GPIT system reports/protocols that they used to successfully prepare.
  • a package of communication materials for general practice teams to use to inform their patients of the change and to promote access
  • information governance (IG) guidance and a national template to support a data privacy impact assessment by a practice team

A useful video about conducting and documenting consultations which empower patients when they access their records can be accessed here. 

The PDA recommend all members working in Primary Care are familiar with the changes, and what this might mean for the delivery of patient care, for example around safeguarding and involving patients in decision making.  As always, any pharmacist must ensure that they are making clear and contemporaneous consultation records for all the patient related work which they do.

Members can find materials using the links above or by visiting here. 

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