Family doctors in favour of the public checking their medical records online
The prospect of patients being able to access their medical records online is being considered by family doctors.
The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) confirmed it is a possibility in the future, following the mandatory introduction of patient files accessible online in England.
Since the end of March, all GP practices have to offer patients the ability to view a summary of their medical records online which include medications, allergies and adverse reactions on the 24-hour service.
GPs there have by-and-large welcomed the IT requirements set out in the GP contract for England for online patient records access. Demand from patients for online services and medical record viewing has increased dramatically.
An Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) spokesperson said: "There is a possibility in the future (that this could happen)."
The Health Service Executive (HSE) in conjunction with the ICGP has launched a new service titled Healthmail, that allows healthcare providers to send and receive clinical patient information in a secure manner.
It allows GPs to communicate with teams across primary care, community intervention, palliative care, consultants and clinical nurse specialists in secondary care and departments of public health.
ICGP chief Kieran Ryan added: "For too long the ability to communicate with colleagues in other parts of the health service was hindered by antiquated methods. This innovation will enhance communication, improve teamwork and ultimately benefit efficient care to patients."
Healthmail accounts are available to doctors registered with the Irish Medical Council, working as and attached to a practice in Ireland.
Don Stack, a leading eye specialist who has been using an IT system allowing patients to access medical records online, said: "Healthmail is a good first step for GPs to communicate efficiently and securely.
"This is very much an aid for the referrals and collaboration within the medical profession. It relies on GPs embracing the concept and in a lot of cases embracing technology. How many GP haven't a email address?
"This initiative however, lags behind the UK where GPs are being compelled to offer a summary of medical details online to patients. So our health authorities need to up their game and come into the 21st Century primary way of communicating via the web."