An event to encourage the public to get involved with new health technology, including personal health records, is being held at the end of next week.
London Connect, a project of the shadow London Health Improvement Board, which is supported by the mayor of London and the capital’s councils, is holding the event at the Wellcome Collection on 19 January.
Jonny Mallinson, the project’s co-ordinator and researcher, said: “We believe that a lack of patient pull is really holding back the development of personal health records.
“We believe that unless patients are included in the conversation at this stage we risk creating a system that doesn’t match their actual needs, and that will instead reflect the objectives of policy-makers and developers.”
The coalition government has announced a number of open data initiatives, and promised that NHS patients will have greater access to their records.
The NHS Commissioning Board’s mandate promised that by March 2015, everybody who wanted to would have online access to the health records held by their GP.
The NHS CB’s first planning guidance for the health service in England, published in December, went further, saying that a consultation on opening up health records across health and social care would start by this summer.
Yet Mallinson pointed out that only a few PHR projects have taken off. “Despite pockets of innovation, an incredible enthusiasm from many in the health and social care sector, take-up of online patient records remains limited,” he said.
“[The] Connect [event] will give the public the chance to try out new health monitoring devices, see the latest health and social care record technology in action and talk to technology experts.”
The London Health Improvement Board, which met for the first time in July 2011 under the leadership of the Mayor, London Councils and NHS London, was set up to plan a coherent approach to improving health in the capital.
The involvement of councils reflects their new role in public health as part of the latest NHS reforms.
The London Connect project is focused on making better use of information to improve health and the experience of those using health and social care services.
It is interested in creating online records so that "people will be able to interact with their records and provide feedback about how they are feeling and communicate with their care team."
The Connect event will feed into this work. The Wellcome Collection is on Euston Road in London.
People can drop into the event at any time from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, 19 January, and also get free entry to the Wellcome Collection’s galleries.
Those attending will be asked to film their reactions. London Connect is also running a survey on patient record access.