This POSTnote explains the plans to introduce electronic health records for everyone in England. We’re pleased to see one of our projects mentioned as a reference that other organisations with similar ambitions can learn from in terms of enabling the sharing of electronic health records.

Electronic health records (EHRs) contain information about patients’ medical histories, health, care preferences and lifestyles (such as diet and exercise). It is intended that they will eventually be accessible to primary, secondary and social care providers, as well as to patients themselves. The NHS currently holds patient information in a variety of settings, both in paper form and electronically. Some EHRs are already stored electronically by GPs, hospitals, mental health providers and in some community care settings, but in a variety of formats which cannot always be easily shared. NHS England intends to connect EHRs across primary, secondary and social care by 2020.

In February 2016, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) published a POSTnote entitled Electronic Health Records explaining the plans to connect EHRs across care settings. This includes detailed discussion of some of the key challenges and opportunities associated, including: 

  • Managing the interoperability of IT different systems
  • Implementing the systems in health settings and training staff
  • Opening up the records systems so that patients can access them
  • Consequences for the doctor-patient relationship
  • Data security, privacy and secondary uses of patient data

Northern Ireland's award-winning electronic care record provided by Orion Health is cited as an example of best practice in this area. Read the POSTnote on Electronic Health Records here.