Technology changing patient interactions

College news
3 May 2017

Today (3 May 2017) the College published a new guide that will help members navigate the sometimes difficult waters of how a child or young person’s health information should be accessed using a patient portal.  It also released the findings of research on GPs use of technology.

Portals allow patients to have fast, easy online access to their health records and their GP. College Medical Director and eHealth Ambassador Dr Richard Medlicott says more and more patients are accessing their health information using patient portals, and while there are benefits, there are also considerations to take into account, particularly around privacy. 

“Our workforce survey research shows that in practices where portals are made available to all patients, nearly all GPs say there has been an improvement in service for patients.  This is extremely positive,” says Dr Medlicott.  

“However as technology changes the way we interact with patients, it’s important for GPs to talk to them about who can access their health records,” he says.

“In 2015 the College published a general guide for GPs on the use of patient portals, but today we’ve released a guide that specifically focuses on access to a child or young person’s health information.  

“This is an area which can present some difficult dilemmas, particularly in situations where a young person wishes to restrict parental access or if there is a breakdown in family relationships.”

The new guide Child and Adolescent Health: Patient Portals, Health Information and Disclosure provides an easy to read decision flowchart, general guidance and information about legal considerations.  There are also six case studies included which help demonstrate the various scenarios GPs may encounter when dealing with families establishing or changing access to their patient portals.

The College’s workforce survey report on technology, which was also published today, showed that the uptake of patient portals is fairly high. 

“Despite their introduction being fairly recent, GPs’ uptake up of patient portals is high - with 59 percent of larger practices offering patient portals to at least some of their enrolled patients,” says College Strategic Policy Manager Michael Thorn.

The report also looks at GPs use of texts, emails and skype/videoconferencing.  

Read the full workforce survey report three on technology

Child and Adolescent Health: Patient Portals, Health Information and Disclosure is available to members via their dashboard