From April, parents of the 136,000 babies born across London each year will be able to begin to record and manage information about their child’s health and development online or by smart phone.

The NHS will start roll-out a digital version of the Redbook familiar to all mothers, beginning with London, in the first phase of a five-year programme to develop integrated child health records across England.

Parents will be able to record and manage information about their child’s health and development using an online personal child health record (PCHR).

Expectant mothers will be able to start using the app from 28 weeks pregnant, rather than waiting until their baby is born, allowing them to learn about their baby’s development milestones, before the baby arrives.

The initiative builds on earlier pilots in Newham, Greenwich, Kingston, Inner North West London and Barnet.

Daniel Moulin, eRedbook lead at SiteKit, told Digital Health News that there are 277 active users to date, and an increase in numbers “all depends on how quickly we can engage midwifery services across London”.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, chair of NHS England’s Maternity Transformation Programme Board, said: “In an increasingly digital world, parents rightly expect the NHS to offer the technology they use in their day to day lives, and the eRedbook is an excellent example of how we are working with other NHS organisations in London to make this expectation a reality.”

The project forms part of the Child Digital Health programme being delivered by NHS Digital, with SiteKit the supplier of a PCHR.  By developing an open interoperable approach it is hoped that a market will emerge with multiple suppliers offering PCHR applications.

The traditional paper Redbook is the personal health record given to all new parents to manage their child’s health between 0-5 years that has been in use for over 50 years.

The new eRedbook, includes information on immunisations, weight and height charts, developmental firsts and important contacts. It also contains practical, personalised information for new parents, including links to relevant videos and information from local sources.

Other key features include automatic plotting on weight and growth charts.  NHS Engand says the digital charts are less error-prone than paper charts, as data is plotted automatically, including the pre-term correction, which is also automated.

The PCHR also includes appointment updates and reminders, which in the future may be extended to replacing appointment letters.

Moulin described the roll-out as “a great opportunity for us to start showcasing the benefits of an untethered personal health record”, with benefits including clinicians collaborating over different services, access to information and encouragement to patients to manage their child’s health online.

Moulin said in early summer screening data and immunisation data will be available London wide.