Wednesday, 31 August 2011
The summary GP record that out of hours health professionals can view when treating patients is due to be available across more areas of Wales.
Residents in the Vale, Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, Bridgend will be the next to receive leaflets through their door about the Individual Health Record (IHR) service.
The Health Boards covering these areas are preparing to make the service live and it will be available in all areas by the end of 2011. The GP Out of Hours service provides GP care - 70% of the week so it is vital they have access to a summary of the GP record.
Already over a million patient records can be viewed by authorised clinical staff with a patient's consent. This is used to help improve their care by identifying, for example, recorded medications and drug allergies.
Dr. Julian Costello, a GP working in Gwent’s Out of Hours service said “Sometimes a patient can’t recall the name of the medication they are known to have been allergic to in the past which may have been recorded by their own GP, but with the Individual Health Record (IHR) we can check and confirm this. There was one case, before IHR, where a patient with a simple water infection was later admitted to hospital after they were prescribed a drug they were actually allergic to but they had got the name wrong and went on to have a serious reaction to it. If the IHR had been available the correct medication allergy would have been known and avoided. In this type of case the IHR is invaluable as that information will be in there. The patient wouldn’t have had an allergic reaction, wouldn’t have ended up in hospital and this would have freed up resources in a busy Accident and Emergency (A&E) department or medical ward.”
On another occasion during a busy out of hours evening the contact number that we had taken earlier for a patient was not working but an alternative telephone number in the IHR worked and we were able to quickly contact the elderly patient and admit her directly to hospital after identifying that she had a very serious and abnormal blood test result taken by her GP earlier that morning for a heart condition. She was very grateful for this and I didn’t need to attend to sort her condition out. This allowed us to deal with the next patient quicker.”
More information when and where it is available on the Individual Health Record website.
Find out more about what information is held in your Individual Health Record and what information is not included.
Source: NHS Wales Informatics Service