South Devon Health Informatics Service has signed up with patient-controlled record system supplier Patients Know Best to provide patients with record access and online consultation functionality.

South Devon will use the Patients Know Best software for patients receiving care from the cystic fibrosis, surgery and speech therapy teams.

The initiative has got under way with clinicians using Patients Know Best for video Skype calls with patients. The next step is to make test results available to patients via the system.

Patients Know Best is a UK-based company which claims to be the world’s first patient-controlled medical records system and says it is the only one integrated into the N3 network.

Patients can use the system to create a personal electronic health record account and grant clinicians access to that account. The system also enables patients to be given online access to records such as clinic and discharge letters, prescriptions and test results.

In addition, patients can use the system to consult online with clinicians, use structured email messaging, skype video calls and work with their clinicians to create personal health plans.

Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, a Cambridge-based doctor who is the founder of Patients Know Best, told EHI Primary Care that South Devon patients will gradually be able to make full use of the functionality offered by the system.

He explained: “Something like cystic fibrosis involves complex care with multiple specialists and this system will integrate that care by allowing all those involved from GPs to community nurses, local hospitals and specialist centres to access the same information.”

The new South Devon agreement follows other pilots of the system at Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust in London.

Dr Al-Ubaydli said he believed Patients Know Best was at the forefront of the switch from paternalistic medicine where the doctor speaks and the patients listen to participatory medicine where the patient is part of the clinical team that decides how best to help the patient.

He added: “I think it should be a regulatory requirement that if you want to practise medicine in the UK you must give your patients computable electronic access to their records.”

A full interview with Dr Al-Ubaydli is on this week’s EHI TV.