The NHS is one of Britain’s greatest achievements and the envy of countless countries around the world, but sometimes but it’s found it hard to ditch the paperwork and embrace technology. In its ongoing bid to improve patient care the NHS today outlined a number of new digital improvements that include making use of apps and opening up access to millions of healthcare records. Parents, for example, will be offered a new digital “red book” that lets them manage their child’s early health updates from a smartphone or tablet.
An NHS “kitemark” for health-related smartphone apps is one of a number of new technological initiatives being backed by NHS chiefs in England. The NHS has previously said it wants to be “paperless” by 2018 and give patients access to health records via laptops or mobile phones. These new detailed plans also include an e-version of the red book that records baby’s immunisations. But there are concerns about the timescale of plans – and data security. With the rapid growth of health-related apps for mobile phones and other personal devices, an NHS “kitemark” is to be introduced to validate those deemed to be safe for patients to use. This authentication process would give doctors peace of mind to recommend apps to help patients manage health conditions. The idea of putting a child’s early years health records – currently they are set out in a “red book” given to all parents – online from 2016 is to guard against the loss of immunisation details which can currently go missing if the actual book is lost.