HealthSpace, the government’s secure online site for patients, is to be expanded to include shared records and GP appointment booking, according to the Health Informatics Review.

The review, published last week, outlines a much wider role for HealthSpace and says its consultation highlighted strong support for the HealthSpace initiative.

In future HealthSpace will be accessed via the NHS’s website NHS Choices and the reviews sets out the proposed features including the ability for patients to record their treatment preferences, to view their Summary Care Record and, for those with long-term conditions, to access a shared record.

The document adds: “We propose an early implementation of a shared record for patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes, which will allow a more active and participative role in their care.”

The list of features which patients could benefit from includes:

• a self-care section to enable patients to monitor their condition and load the results for GPs to view and discuss at future appointments.

• Access to Summary Care Records and the ability to store information and preference.

• Reminders on tests, appointments and screening and personalised information for those with long term conditions.

• Secure online interaction with GPs and the ability to email a request for a repeat prescription.

• The ability to see available slots and book an appointment with their GP, practice nurse or hospital.

• An accessible and secure site which will show patients who has accessed their information.

The review says the proposed increase in the scope of the project and NHS Choices will provide an integrated service with benefits for patient choice, care personalisation and self-care.

It states that benefits will include improved efficiency and effectiveness, improved experience for patients and service users and increased patient safety and quality of care.

It adds: “For example, the extra information provided by patients via HealthSpace will allow them to jointly manage their health, have access to their care plans, become ‘expert patients’ and provide a more complete picture on which clinical decisions can be based.”

The review says HealthSpace will also integrate with the Whole System Demonstrator project. The WSD project began in May this year involving 7,000 patients across three sites testing the use of assistive technologies such as telecare and telehealth devices.

The review adds: “The aim is to ensure that NHS Choices, HealthSpace, homecare and other related services, such as NHS Direct, are integrated and provide a coherent set of information resources. This will empower patients and the public, through access to their health records to drive improvements in quality.”

Lord Darzi’s NHS Next Stage Review, published two weeks ago, also outlined a much wider role for NHS Choices.

The Health informatics Review confirms that the website’s scope will be expanded to include much more information about primary and community care as well as hospital care. It adds that “in time” other services such as those provided by social care will also be included.