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NHS goes all out for digital



PATIENTS will enjoy digital access to their records across the NHS in England, under radical plans unveiled by the health service today.

By 2018, everyone will be able to view their health history with hospitals and social care, community and mental health services, NHS England will promise.

Every visit, every prescription, test results, adverse reactions and allergies to drugs will be available online "at the click of a button", the organisation will pledge.

And patients will also be able to record their preferences and comments, alongside their official medical notes.

The digitisation of the Personal Child Health Record - the "red book" - will offer new parents personalised mobile care records for their children, from 2016.

The blueprint is set out by an alliance of 29 health and care organisations, led by NHS England, which is charged with "developing the strategic priorities for data and technology in health".

It goes further than previously-announced plans to allow all patients to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions online, by March 2015.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had also previously pledged that hospitals, GP surgeries and out-of-hours doctors would be able to tap into patients' electronic records.

Tim Kelsey, NHS England's national informatics director, said GP practices are "well on their way" to achieving next year's deadline, but the alliance wanted to "go one step further".

He said: "New mothers will now be able to carry their red book around with them on their smart phone and tablet as the NHS moves towards offering digital Personal Child Health Records.

"This will put an end to worrying about leaving your child's information at home when going for a review, vaccination, or emergency treatment.

"We must embrace modern technology to help us lead healthier lives, and if we want - to take more control when are ill.

"Our ambition is to make the NHS a digital pioneer for our patients and citizens."

The plans also include providing "real time data" to paramedics, doctors and nurses, to ensure patients receive safe and effective at the point of care.

All NHS funded care services are expected to have digital and interoperable systems that "remove the limitations of paper records and slow bureaucratic systems" by 2020.

Approved smartphone apps will carry NHS 'Kitemarks' to improve trust, with the overall aim that "patients will only have to tell their story once".

With consent, care records will be available electronically across the health system by 2018 for urgent care services and 2020 for all services.

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