A shared patient record scheme is being rolled out across Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull, using Healthcare Gateway technology.

Your Care Connected will enable healthcare professionals working in secondary care to view information from a patient’s GP record.

The Medical Interoperability Gateway will pull information on up to 1.8 million patients from GP systems Emis Web, TPP SystmOne and INPS Vision.

It will be rolled out to users throughout 2016, becoming available to all of the area's hospitals, as well as Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service, out-of-hours GP service providers and every GP practice.

A spokesman for the project said users will access the information via a button embedded within their own electronic patient record.

Records will be shared using implied consent unless a patient chooses to ‘opt-out’. Patients are being sent letters about the scheme and have four weeks to opt-out before their record will be available to view. Patients must also give explicit consent for a clinician to view their record at the point of care.

The records will be shared in a read only format with no data extraction or warehousing involved after GP leaders raised concerns about the original plan, which was to hold data for the record in a central warehouse.

Digital Health News reported in October 2014 that this plan had been scrapped and the project was instead going to focus on a “look up and view” system.

Seventeen health and social care organisations across the region went out to tender for a joint central care record system in August 2013, but Birmingham Local Medical Committee expressed serious concerns, including patients being unable to give informed consent and which organisations would be given access to the record.

A statement from Your Care Connected says the project team has worked with the LMCs in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull and has ensured that practices, in their role as data controllers, are fully protected.

“A robust data sharing agreement… is in place to outline the responsibilities of both data controllers and those who view the data,” it says. Around 70 practices have signed agreements so far.

Dr Masood Nazir, a local GP and chief clinical information officer for Your Care Connected, believes the information sharing initiative is essential for creating a more joined-up NHS.

“As a local GP, it makes absolute sense to me that my patients' medical information should be shared real-time where relevant, appropriate and with their consent, to directly improve the care they receive whilst visiting a hospital. By giving local clinical colleagues the information they need when they need it most, we can all work together to provide better, safer care for our patients," he said.

A pilot of the record-sharing scheme ran last year with a small number of practices and providers and was well received. Rukhsana Aslam, practice manager at Oakwood Surgery which participated in the pilot, said the service had greatly reduced the time practice staff had to spend on the telephone with patient and medication queries from hospitals.

BT is the systems integrator for the project.