GP IT system supplier EMIS is extending its online patient record access service to all of its practices.

Latest figures show that GP medical records have so far been viewed 10,853 times with the EMIS Access system, which has been piloted in a small number of practices over the last 18 months.

Sean Riddell, managing director of EMIS Healthcare, said take up of the online medical record viewer had been the slowest of the other EMIS Access services such as repeat prescription ordering and online appointment booking. A total of 1328 practices, one in eight of all UK practices, is now using EMIS’ online appointment booking.

Riddell added: “Take up of EMIS Access per se is going from strength to strength and the amount that these services are used is mirroring the need for them. A patient will probably want to look at their medical record fewer times than they will want to request a repeat prescription or book an appointment.”

Riddell said practices could choose when and if they took advantage of the EMIS Access services and that medical record access would complement other initiatives such as Microsoft’s HealthVault and Connecting for Health’s HealthSpace initiative.

The online medical record access service enables patients to view their health record using “authenticated access” from any internet enabled PC with a web browser.

Dr Brian Fisher, who’s Wells Park Practice in Lewisham pioneered patient access to paper and electronic medical records, said: "Our research has shown that patient medical record viewing can improve consultations, provide patient reassurance and reduce the risk of error.

"The service will empower patients by giving them greater access to their medical record in a way that is user-friendly, safe and secure."

Dr Amir Hannan, a GP at Haughton Thornley Medical Centre in Hyde, has been leading records access in Cheshire.

He said: "Giving patients access to their medical record helps to build the partnership of trust between clinician and patient. At the same time, it encourages improved self-care. This is a positive milestone for both clinicians and patients.