University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has announced the roll-out of its patient portal, which allows those with long-term conditions to view and update their medical records.

The myhealth@QEHB portal was piloted with patients with a long-term liver condition.

But from July, patients receiving treatment in specialties such as diabetes and prostate cancer will also have access to the web-based system.

Daniel Ray, the trust’s director of informatics, said: “There’s nothing really like this anywhere else in the UK.

"It’s a leading-edge patient portal that supports the delivery of high quality care through increased knowledge, support and communication.

"A significant number of people stand to benefit from it in years to come as we roll it out.”

The system was developed in-house by the informatics team and IT teams at University Hospitals Birmingham, after they were approached by a liver consultant who wanted his patients to have more information about their condition and treatment.

Liver patients can log-in from any location and view information such as their medication, test results, discharge letters, and details provided in clinical appointments.

James Ferguson, consultant hepatologist, who was supervising the project, described the system as “a perfect use of modern technology to improve patient care.”

“Many of my patients have to travel a great distance for their care in Birmingham, and I believe they should have access to their own records,” he said.

“It is their health and they deserve the right to see their letters and blood results in an accessible format.

“The system may also improve communication between healthcare professionals, as a patient will be able to show their record to any doctor or nurse they choose.

“Most importantly, I hope the system will improve patients’ understanding of their condition and its management.

"There will be links to reliable information about their treatment and condition and they can build networks with people who may be going through something similar.”

Myhealth@QEHB allows patients to interact with other members of the system, in what Birmingham describes as a prototype “social network for the NHS”.

Michelle Lockett, statistical intelligence analyst, said: “This added functionality provides patients with the ability to share their own profile with others.

“We wanted to enable these patients, empower them, and this system can be a life-changing experience as it will link patients up with people who are going through the same things that they are.”

The full-list of specialities that will receive access to the portal from July is: diabetes, endocrinology, the bronchiectasis service, complex inherited bone diseases, cardiology, haematology, HIV, IMD, prostate cancer, renal, rheumatology and urology.

* The trust has also announced that the outpatients department at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham has become virtually paper-free following the introduction of electronic patient records.

It decided to create its own EPR through the implementation of a clinical portal, which pulls together data from several systems, after the failure of the National Programme for IT in the NHS to deliver CSC’s EPR, Lorenzo.

The portal holds 800,000 records, with each one containing the patient’s unique hospital registration number, their demographics and clinical information such as discharge letters, results and operation notes.

Deborah McKee, EPR manager said: “We see on average 40,000 outpatients a month in the new outpatient facility.

"The introduction of a new paper-light way of working has transformed the way we work, reduced the risk of information not being available and enabled the trust to continue to deliver the best in care to all of our patients.”