New DH information strategy calls for online GP records for all by 2015


The Department of Health have published the long awaited information strategy for the NHS, entitled The power of information: Putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need (PDF).

The main thrust of the strategy is to give patients more information and make data central to the drive to improve patient care. A key commitment in the strategy is that everyone in England will be able to access their GP record online by 2015.

A further aim is to link health records with social care systems so that elderly patients and people with chronic conditions can be cared for in a more integrated way.

Here are the main ‘ambitions’ taken from the strategy:

  • Information used to drive integrated care across the entire health and social care sector, both within and between organisations
  • Information regarded as a health and care service in its own right for us all – with appropriate support in using information available for those who need it, so that information benefits everyone and helps reduce inequalities
  • A change in culture and mindset, in which our health and care professionals, organisations and systems recognise that information in our own care records is fundamentally about us – so that it becomes normal for us to access our own records easily
  • Information recorded once, at our first contact with professional staff, and shared securely between those providing our care – supported by consistent use of information standards that enable data to flow (interoperability) between systems whilst keeping our confidential information safe and secure
  • Our electronic care records progressively become the source for core information used to improve our care, improve services and to inform research, etc. – reducing bureaucratic data collections and enabling us to measure quality
  • A culture of transparency, where access to high-quality, evidence-based information about services and the quality of care held by Government and health and care services is openly and easily available to us all
  • An information-led culture where all health and care professionals – and local bodies whose policies influence our health, such as local councils – take responsibility for recording, sharing and using information to improve our care
  • The power of information: Putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need
  • The widespread use of modern technology to make health and care services more convenient, accessible and efficient
  • An information system built on innovative and integrated solutions and local decision-making, within a framework of national standards that ensure information can move freely, safely, and securely around the system

The new strategy has been published shortly after a major new development last week, which saw the South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust launch an online health record system that gives mental health patients access to their health records.

The MyHealthBox website uses Microsoft’s HealthVault platform and allows patients to access their health record directly. According to the Maudsley, it is the world’s first patient-held electronic health record in the field of mental health.


The power of information: putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need (PDF). Department of Health, 21 May 2012.

Information Strategy website. Department of Health.

My Health Box. South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

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