Patients may be given the option to transfer their health records to Google or Microsoft personal health record platforms under a Conservative government.

According to newspaper reports, patients may be given the option of moving their medical notes to services provided by private companies, such as the US technology giants.

Both technology firms have been developing PHR systems. Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health are now in early stages in the US. Neither system has yet been launched in the UK.

The Times quotes Conservative sources as saying: “We are 100% certain there will not be an exclusive deal with one provider. We fully expect multiple providers that will almost certainly be free to users.”

Such systems would most likely be funded by allowing advertising to be incorporated into future patient records services.

The Conservatives are due later this month to publish a review of NHS IT policy, which has been carried out on its behalf by Dr Glyn Hayes, a past chair of the British Computer Society’s health informatics forum.

They have already said they will replace the electronic patient record projects of the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

However, sources close to the review have warned that PHRs, though offering potential, remain largely unproven yet in the US or elsewhere. They stress that PHRs are a useful tool to supplement the complex detailed legal medical record maintained by doctors, but are not a replacement.

The Department of Health last shelved its ambitious development and implementation plans for the NHS’s own national PHR system, HealthSpace. Unlike other rival commercial systems HealthSpace is desigedn to be fully integrated with, and not separate to, the detailed medical legal records used by GPs and other health professionals.

The Conservative plan appears to be to enable people to choose from a range of private sector PHR providers, possibly including those operated by Bupa. Other candidates likely to be in the frame include primary care software firm EMIS, which is already provides patients with online access to their GP record.

According to the Times report the move to PHRs raises questions about the party’s links to Google. Steve Hilton, one of David Cameron’s closest advisers, is married to Rachel Whetstone, the company’s vicepresident of global communications and public affairs.

Five months ago, the party announced that Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, was joining a Conservative business forum to advise on economic policy.

The Times quotes an un-named senior Tory source as saying: “We’re thinking about how in government the architecture of technology needs to change, with people ‘owning’ their own data, including their health records.”

The source added: “We are 100 per cent certain there will not be an exclusive deal with one provider. We fully expect multiple providers that will almost certainly be free to users.”