Feeds

DoH sticks to 'opt out' for patient e-records

Patients have a 'realistic' period to opt out

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Department of Health (DoH) has stuck by the "implied consent" model for the central collection of electronic patient records in England, but will provide support for those who want to opt out

Health minister announced the plan along with the publication of a taskforce report on the Care Record Service on 18 December 2006.

Before records are uploaded onto the National Care Record Service (NCRS), patients will be given a chance to view their records on a section of the Healthspace website. They will be able to make corrections, give their GP consent to upload the details, or choose to have them withheld.

If, after a "realistic" period, it would be assumed that those patients who have chosen not to view their summary care record are giving implied consent for it to be shared in appropriate settings. The DoH did not specify the length of the period.

The move will be supported by a "robust" public information programme for the early adoption sites. This is due to begin in February 2007, in preparation for the launch of the pilot programme during the spring.

There has been a sometimes fractious debate about the plan to use the opt out model for the NCRS, which will provide a central electronic record of details such as current medication, allergies and adverse reactions. Some groups, including the British Medical Association, have argued for an opt in model in which the patient would have to give explicit consent for the details to be uploaded.

The BMA produced a conciliatory reaction to the announcement. Its chairman, James Johnson: "The recommendations in this report provide a good first step, and we look forward to building on this work and learning more from the roll out of the early adopter phase which should help identify any further issues before the summary care record is implemented across England in 2008.

"It is crucial to the success of the NHS Care Record that the anxieties of both patients and professionals are properly dealt with and that the wishes of patients are fully respected."

Warner also announced the establishment of an advisory group on the implementation of the NCRS, to be chaired by Martin Marshall, deputy chief medical officer. He said that the recommendation on a training pack for staff was already being taken forward.

He added that the internet based HealthSpace, introduced in 2004, will be expanded and brought forward to be available in the summary care record early adopter sites. It will enable the public, when registered as users, to view their summary care record. The taskforce recognised the opportunity this represents for a "true patient care record."

In addition, he announced the establishment of a National Information Governance Board to oversee the quality of information governance in the NHS, to offer advice on confidentiality and security of patient information, to monitor the implementation of the NHS Care Record Guarantee and to advise the secretary of state. The board will be chaired by Cayton and further details about the arrangements for the new Board will be announced shortly.

Harry Cayton, the DoH director for patients, said: 'Members of the taskforce agreed that the creation of the summary care record is a tremendous opportunity to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of care for all patients but that it must be implemented with public support and clinical confidence…. We now have a clear way forward and will learn from the early adopter sites as we go along.'"

Sigurd Reinton, chairman of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and taskforce member, said: "In thinking about their options, I hope people, especially the elderly and vulnerable, will bear in mind that if we have your information then paramedics, for example, will be able to offer the best possible treatment. It is the elderly and the vulnerable who may miss out if they have to formally opt in."

The taskforce noted that, until it is possible to seal off parts of the record, it should only include non-sensitive information, and handling any sensitive information should be agreed with patients. It also agreed that as the system matured the content of the record should become more complete.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.