NHS Connecting for Health is hoping to get Treasury approval in the next few weeks to develop its online health organiser HealthSpace.

The organiser allows patients in some of the early adopter areas to access their Summary Care Record. They must complete strict security checks, which include presenting two forms of ID showing the same address as that held by their GP. Access is then allowed via a smartcard.

Dr Gillian Braunold, clinical director for HealthSpace, told last month’s Summary Care Record Advisory Group (SCRAG) that 740 patients had so far fully activated their ‘advanced accounts’ on HealthSpace.

A total of 56,284 patients have ‘basic’ accounts, which enable them to store and keep track of their own health information such as blood pressure readings.

Dr Braunold also told the SCRAG that Communicator, a tool that will enable patients to carry out e-mail consultations with GPs and other clinicians, will be launched in April.

The system could be used in the management of patients with long-term conditions, repeat medication requests, medication reviews and pre-registration assessments.

Dr Braunold also told the SCRAG that ideas for initial deployments included selected GP practices within SCR early adopter primary care trusts, a GP practice not involved in the SCR, patients in Salford using HealthSpace to access their local diabetes records, patients in Sheffield on the diabetes care pathway and a London polyclinic.

Plans for the future included a proposed pilot in Hampshire to allow patients online, continuous access to records, including results and an investigation of outcome measures when patients have access to results in advance of diabetes clinic appointments.

Dr Braunold told EHI Primary Care that the business case to develop HealthSpace further was still with the Treasury but she hoped for approval soon because it met the aims of the NHS Next Stage Review.

She added: “I am confident that it ticks all the right boxes, we are working towards a successful conclusion and then we can get on with the procurement.”

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HealthSpace set for big expansion