Report finds support for tech-enabled NHS

Public willing to share data so they can access information and book appointments online

Wednesday 3rd July 2019

A report by a Holyrood committee reveals Scots want to see the NHS use technology more and are willing to share their data to make this happen.

In the first stage of a two-part inquiry into primary care, the Health & Sport Committee found the public wants to access patient records electronically, contact doctors by email and book appointments online.

Large majorities say they would be happy to receive test results digitally and allow data from blood pressure, diabetes or fitness trackers to be shared directly with their GP.

Committee convener Lewis MacDonald says: “The public clearly have an appetite for change and retaining the status quo is not an option.

“For the second part of our inquiry, the Committee will take these findings to health professionals and seek their response before we make our final recommendations to Parliament.”

A series of panels across Scotland reveals revealed one of the biggest priorities for patients is a single electronic patient record shared across all services, to be used for correspondence and test results, so patients don’t have to repeat the same information to different services.

There was also support for contacting health professionals by email, scheduling appointments online and holding Skype or FaceTime consultations, particularly in rural or remote areas.

Meanwhile, nearly 80% of people surveyed would use wearable devices to monitor activity levels and blood pressures and allow this information to be transmitted directly to their GPs, with 86% happy for their notes to be shared across the primary care team.

However just six in ten were willing to share this kind of information with the NHS as a whole.

Respondents were also happy to use apps to book repeat prescriptions and access health information online.

Lewis MacDonald added: “The future of primary care is something which will affect every citizen in Scotland. It covers a vast range of services from General Practitioners or Community Nurses, to our contact with other health professionals such as Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, Midwives, Dentists, Opticians and Pharmacists.

“We decided to put members of the public at the centre of this discussion and it’s clear from what we’ve been told that the public are well-informed, insightful and passionate about the future of primary care in Scotland.”