The first NHS Electronic Patient Record systems were introduced over 20 years ago. Since then, we have seen technological advances never imagined. Yet, still, only a few of us can access our own health data, and fewer still can do anything meaningful with it.
Access to and flow of patient data is key to improving outcomes and integration. A single care record moving with the patient, as they themselves move through the health and care system, achieves both access and flow. There is also an increasing public expectation that health records should be available to whomever needs them, whenever they need them and wherever we are.
So, how do we match reality with these expectations?
At a recent pro-manchester event hosted at Mills & Reeve’s Manchester office, we explored the impact of sharing health data and what it can mean for patients, practitioners and the wider health economy. Paul Knight and Charlotte Lewis from Mills & Reeve were joined by Sally Rennison from Patients Know Best and Alexandra Eavis from Dovetail Lab who explained how their own products work.
Patients Know Best have developed a patient-controlled medical record platform designed for borderless sharing of information. The portal puts patients at the centre of their medical record allowing ownership over their information and providing tools to help manage their health and wellbeing alongside their professionals. PKB features in Matt Hancock’s recently published technology vision - The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care.
Key to sharing data are interoperability and trust. Dovetail Lab have harnessed distributed ledger (blockchain) technology to verify identity, store consent and create tamper-proof audit records of every data exchange. Their solution is described as the ‘software glue’ that sits between the different technologies and allows them to talk to each other but only if the patient gives their consent.
Solutions like these enable the secure exchange of health data, connect silos and form an open healthcare ecosystem. Empowering patients by allowing them a sense of control over who sees their data also helps to unlock the trust missing from earlier solutions and improves engagement and outcomes for all.