A new digital service called Patients Know Best (PKB) is helping empower patients to be more involved in their care by securely giving them access to their own health records.
As well as having 24/7 access to their records, patients can now choose who they want to share the information with, and work much more closely and easily with clinicians to manage their future care as a team. Care plans can be created digitally with input from patients and clinicians, and videos and other media content to help patients better understand their condition and manage care are also available.
By making it simpler for patients to choose who can see their information, patients can easily share it with other agencies or healthcare professionals, smoothing the way for much easier cross-boundary or multi-agency care. They can also share the information with relatives and carers.
PKB also allows clinicians to conduct virtual clinics, so patients don’t always need to attend an outpatients clinic, and the app can connect to devices like ones used to monitor blood sugar levels.
Following a successful pilot in three departments in Morriston, Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals, a growing number of outpatients in the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend are now being offered PKB access to their personal online health record.
ABMU is the first in Wales to offer patients PKB, but there is now growing interest from health boards across Wales.
ABMU has been working in partnership with Welsh Government which part-funded the early demonstrator pilot through its Efficiency Through Technology fund and NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) which has helped to integrate PKB with national data systems.
Hamish Laing, chair of the PKB Project Board and former ABMU Medical Director, said:
“Thereis good evidence that giving patients greater access to their own health information and care plans, as well as other information about their health, helps them to take greater control of their health and offers us better ways to support them in doing so.”
Dr Mohammad Al-Ubayfii, chief executive of Patients Know Best said:
“The NWIS and PKB integration is the first time a nation has allowed the data to move anywhere with the patient. It’s great to work with the government of Wales to offer this progressive approach to patients.”
Cardiac outpatient Deborah Isidoro from Pencoed, started using PKB a few weeks ago.
After suffering a heart attack in 2016, aged just 49, she was one of the first cardiology patients offered PKB when it was launched in the Princess of Wales Hospital last month.
She said: “I like the way that I am now able to see my results online, so I’m better prepared ahead of an appointment. I’m able to think about the questions I want to ask ahead of speaking to my nurse.
“It gives me more understanding of what’s going on – it is empowering in a way. Before, I’d go to an appointment and be told about my results and it might not have been afterwards that I’d have thought of something I’d like to have asked. Now I am much better prepared.”
ABMU patients currently using PKB include cardiac and Parkinson’s, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients are also going live. However clinicians from many other specialties may also soon be offering PKB to their patients, as the roll out continues – with PKB being offered to patients throughout ABMU in diabetes, urology, Ears Nose and Throat and gastroenterology from this autumn.