Health & medicine Science & tech

Just a swipe away: how the NHS plans to offer health records on iPhone

An NHS innovation project at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust will allow patients using Induction Healthcare’s Zesty platform to access their health records on iPhone. The move is expected to give patients more autonomy over their healthcare and health data, leading to better outcomes. So what advantages are there? Abi Millar finds out.

In recent years, we have all grown accustomed to having reams of data at our fingertips. Our financial information is easily accessible through online banking portals. Our business emails are stored in the cloud. And if I want to see how many steps I’ve walked today, I only need refer to the ‘health data’ section of my iPhone.

It may seem peculiar, then, that if I want to access my own medical information, I need to jump through so many hoops. A patient in the UK will need to register for GP online services through the practice they’re registered with. If they want to see their Summary Care Record (basic information including allergies, medicines, etc.) they will need to speak to their GP. In the US, the complex network of providers and insurers can make the process nothing short of byzantine.

The reasons for this are part technological, part ideological. On the technological side, allowing patients open access to their electronic health records poses challenges around interoperability and data security. And on the ideological side, not all doctors are keen on the idea of giving patients this much control, often citing concerns about sensitive items and the potential for confusion or offence.

Read the rest of this article in the February 2021 edition of Medical Technology

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