A new patient website will track the browser history of users along with their location in order to provide personalised health advice.
NHS.uk hasn’t been due for some time, but finally some of the critical features of this new system have been revealed.
Speaking on the matter at an event in London, NHS Digital’s transformation director Beverley Bryant divulged that NHS.uk will provide people with more personalised health advice than the current ‘flat’ information provided by NHS Choices.
“If we can use location, time and cookies and history to provide content to people then it’s likely to be more relevant to visitors, and they are likely to come back for more information,” Bryant suggested.
And registration will provide access to personal health records, according to the digital transformation director.
This will enable users to perform a variety of transactions, with the booking of appointments, repeat prescriptions, access to medical records and uploading various tranches of data possible.
“By giving people more control…we think that people will be able to make more informed decisions,” Bryant asserted.
The sharing of personal data will doubtless be considered controversial, but Bryant emphasised that it is necessary to opt-in order to provide any such information.
But Bryant was effusive of the possibilities provided by the collation of personal data.
“Once we’ve persuaded them, that’s when we can start to make it personal, so that they get an aggregated view of their health; the last time they came, what is the information they asked for, a record of an appointment.”
Although the final version is not yet ready to be rolled out, a beta version is already being tested by active users.
“Content development is ongoing and we hope to go live with the enhanced site by Autumn 2018,” a spokeswoman said.
Jeremy Hunt had indicated his personal belief in the concept of an online personal health record when speaking before the House of Lords’ Long-term NHS Sustainability Committee in December.
“We will have a system where you can go online and identify yourself online without having to go to your GP surgery. That will be very significant, because people will be able to download their record on their phone.”
However, there is opposition to the concept as well.
Paul Cundy, chairman of the Royal College of GPs’ IT Committee, spoke at the same event and suggested that improved access to information was unlikely to have any meaningful impact on demand.
“Adding a new service simply increases workload. Generally, patients do not want access to all of their records. What they want occasionally is access to some part of their record some part of the time.”