Comment

26.09.18

Personal Health Records: Empowering people

Source: NHE Sept/Oct 2018

Stewart Fishman, product manager for Personal Health Records (PHRs) at NHS Digital, discusses the empowering impact PHRs can have for patients.

Imagine a future where people can easily choose from a range of secure, usable, online tools to access their care records. They can add information to these tools and share it with anyone involved in their care.

It’s not too much of a leap, because these tools are available in the health and care system already. They’re known as PHRs, and offer people the ability to take greater control of their health and care.

The challenge for patients and the public is that being able to access a PHR that meets your needs depends on a wide range of factors, including where you live and what your health needs are.

The aim of NHS Digital’s PHR programme is to enable anyone who wants a PHR to have one, by supporting their adoption and development by health and care organisations throughout England.

How we can help

To achieve this aim, we had to understand how we could help. In late 2017, we ran discovery research to find out the challenges to wider adoption of PHRs. We reviewed the literature and existing research and spoke directly to NHS trusts with and without PHRs in place. We also spoke to social care organisations, suppliers of PHR systems, and heard passionate views from patients and health and care professionals.

We learnt early on that most people gained access to a PHR as a patient through their clinician. Most of the time, they were a patient with a long-term condition. 

We decided that the best way we could increase the number of people using PHRs was to help make it easier for local NHS organisations to build or buy them. At the same time, we had to ensure the PHRs being developed supported patient-centred care and were truly interoperable.

A recurrent theme during discovery was that people implementing PHRs felt isolated. They wanted to be able to share information, but in particular they wanted it to become easier to:

  • Understand what a PHR is and what steps you can take to adopt one;
  • Find out who else is developing PHRs;
  • Find examples of good practice;
  • Speed up key processes such as procurement and information governance;
  • Feel confident they are meeting existing standards;
  • Make progress in line with a ‘vision’ for PHRs in England;
  • Find evidence for PHR benefits.

The PHR Adoption Toolkit

Everything we do is based on meeting these user needs. We have started what we hope will become a key resource for personal health records development.

We are calling this a ‘toolkit’ as we want it to hold a wide range of useful resources to help the development of PHRs become easier, faster and more consistent, encouraging innovation whilst supporting interoperability.

At the moment, the toolkit includes a clear definition of what a PHR is, plus:

  • PHR guidance: information on good practice for the development of PHRs in England;
  • PHR standards: a list of existing technical, security, data, design and clinical standards you can use now;
  • Research findings: who we spoke to, what we learnt and how we plan to help.

We intend to iteratively develop the toolkit with new content based on the needs of the PHR community. For example, with their help we can build a stronger evidence base for how PHRs are used and the benefits they bring.

What’s next?

We’re developing a community of practice so that people developing and commissioning PHRs can learn from each other more easily. Over the next 12 months we’re aiming to:

  • Map out where PHRs exist so that those developing them can find and learn from each other;
  • Establish new networking opportunities for anyone involved with PHR development, including a forum alongside the toolkit;
  • Share case studies about those who have successfully implemented PHRs, showing the good practice and lessons learned along the way;
  • Make it clear how PHRs fit into the bigger picture alongside programmes such as the Global Digital Exemplars and Local Health and Care Exemplars;
  • Improve the quantity and quality of evidence of PHR benefits, making it easier to find evidence to support the successful approval of local business cases.

If the toolkit is to be truly useful, it will be because the people developing or implementing PHRs see the value in coming together to share and support each other. We’re keen to develop a vibrant, self-sustaining community that pushes PHR adoption forward to a point where these tools start fulfilling the long-term aim of empowering people.

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

PCN Network: Important people access primary care in way which suits them

10/07/2020PCN Network: Important people access primary care in way which suits them

Following the release of the findings from the latest GP Patient Survey, NHS Confederation’s PCN Network have stressed the importance of en... more >
NHS Test and Trace data shows 97.5% of tests returned the next day

10/07/2020NHS Test and Trace data shows 97.5% of tests returned the next day

As NHS Test and Trace have published the statistics for the fifth week of the service operating, demonstrating that 97.5% of in-person coron... more >
NHS SBS framework launched to help safe return of employees

09/07/2020NHS SBS framework launched to help safe return of employees

A new procurement framework has been launched by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) to help facilitate the safe return of NHS and other publi... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few months. But as we recognise the best of the NHS and its response to the Covid-19 crisis we must not forget that for mental health the peak has yet to come. Covid-19 has placed enormous pressure on the entire health and care system. Despite the very real hardships f... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’v... read more >

health service focus

How NHS Property Services adapted to a new way of working

01/07/2020How NHS Property Services adapted to a new way of working

From May/June 2020 edition Trish Stephen... more >
Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

12/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Nati... more >