Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham launches an internet portal where patients can check test results online.
The myhealth@QEHB system goes live on Tuesday July 31st, allowing people receiving long-term care to view and update their own medical records.
It has already been trialled amongst liver patients, and will now be extended to 11 other specialities across the hospital.
The portal has been developed by the hospital itself, to allow people to collect information about their treatment without booking appointments or needing to make phone calls.
Daniel Ray is Director of Informatics at the University Hospitals Birmingham Trust (UHB), which runs QEHB, and says it allows patients access to test results, appointment times, and medication details:
“This system gives patients much more control over their care and means they will be able to manage their condition much more effectively.
“Ultimately, it will lead to better outcomes and quality of life.”
myhealth@QEHB is updated daily and can be accessed from anywhere, using a secure log-in (such as is used in internet banking).
This means patients could be on holiday and still be able to pick up test results, or reschedule an appointment.
Similarly, a diabetes sufferer could log their blood sugar levels remotely and receive an alert to tell them or their carer that it is time to take their medication.
Consultant Hepatologist James Ferguson was part of the trial process in his treatment of liver disease sufferers, and says it is a great use of technology:
“Some patients have to travel considerable distances from their homes to hospital, but this will give them a remote access to their health records.
“They have a right to see their results in a more convenient way, and they will be able to share their records with other healthcare professionals, if they choose.”
A “Facebook for the NHS”
The portal also allows people to connect with other patients suffering from similar conditions.
This allows them to build up a support network of people who are undergoing similar experiences, and help them become more aware of the issues their condition may cause.
QEHB is the first hospital in the country to offer such a network, and they believe it will be taken on across the country within the next few years.
From the end of July, people being treated in the following specialities will be offered use of the patient portal:
- Cancer (urology and oncology)
- Inherited Bone Conditions
- Liver Medicine
- Inherited Metabolic Disorders
Due to complications in his condition, and a unique way that his body responds to treatment, he says was keen to sign up to myhealth@QEHB to help track his own progress:
“I’ll use it to access my results online, see appointments and letters, without the need to keep having to go to the GP.
“Because I am a technical person, I like to be organised, [so] like the idea of being able to look back on things and ask ‘Is there a pattern?’
“The system will help me to try to understand my condition a bit more, but the main thing is the convenience – I can get answers immediately, rather than picking up the phone.”