Wales is nearing the complete roll-out of its My Health Online portal for online bookings and repeat prescriptions.
In its latest newsletter, the NHS Wales Informatics Service says the service needs to be implemented at one more GP practice in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and this will occur within the month.
Once completed My Health Online will be live at all 458 GP practices in Wales, offering patients the opportunity do a variety of health-related tasks online, including booking appointments and ordering prescriptions.
NHS Wales Informatics Service said that more than 130,000 patients have registered for My Health Online and that interest in both the ability to book appointments and order prescriptions is “growing.”
The service, which is available in both English and Welsh, was launched in 2011 backed by £1.7 million of funding from the Welsh Assembly Government.
The first practices to sign up were using patient record systems from Emis and INPS. The service has since been extended to work with other system suppliers iSoft and HealthySoft.
In addition to using the service to book appointments and order prescriptions, patients can update general details, such as their address and get access to advice and information on managing health conditions.
The service is promoted on a local scale, although NHS Wales Informatics Service said it is considering a national campaign to raise awareness of My Health Online with patients.
The NWIS also intends to improve the registration process and to launch a mobile app that patients can use.
It is piloting a service that allows GP Practices to send SMS text messages to patients to remind them about their upcoming appointments and invite them to contact the surgery for seasonal flu vaccinations or regular clinic appointments.
This service, call My Health Text, has already reduced the number of missed appointments in practices that are piloting the service, including one practice which went from 116 missed appointments in one month to 80 the month it introduced the service.
NHS England has been working on a similar programme called Patient Online, to give patients access to their summary care record information, book appointments and order prescriptions online.
Figures posted in May this year revealed that more than 96% of GP practices in England were able to offer patients these services.