More than 100,000 mums-to-be can now access their health records and appointments via a range of digital tools including apps.
NHS England committed to ensuring digital services replaced paper notes when the Long Term Plan was published in January.
Pregnant women on the Women’s Digital Care Record pilot programme can now access their test results, keep a diary of their symptoms, monitor their baby’s movements, record birth plan preferences, access their pregnancy notes and provide feedback on their care via a range of tools, including online and via apps.
NHS England has pledged to provide every pregnant women the choice of using digital care records by 2023/24.
Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England said: “Expectant mums and their partners rightly want more say over their care and more information about how things are going during pregnancy, and that’s what we are delivering through the NHS Long Term Plan.
“Offering online access to care records is a key part of this, putting more control in the palms of women’s hands and giving them instant access to all the information and advice they need to look after themselves and their unborn children.”
The electronic records, designed in conjunction with NHS Digital, allow midwives to provide tailored care for all pregnant mums.
They also provide women with greater choice about their care and provide access to information and services in a more convenient and efficient way.
Roger Carter, NHS Digital’s programme manager for the digital maternity programme, added: “The power of a woman’s clinical record combined with relevant personalised information is phenomenal.
“Not only does it help to improve the overall experience for both expectant mums and health professionals, but it also promotes safer care.
“Over the past two years, NHS Digital has been growing a network of digital midwives who are working towards the common goal of ensuring all pregnant women in England have access to a digital maternity record.”
Polly Bishop, director of digital experience at NHSX, said: “The incredible uptake of these new digital maternity records demonstrates how keen some people are to be able to access their health services online.
“We want everyone to have the option to use digital tools to take greater control of their care and NHSX is working with local NHS bodies to make this possible.”
The Long Term Plan promised that, in 10 years’ time, the “NHS [in England] will offer a ‘digital first’ option for most, allowing for longer and richer face-to-face consultations with clinicians where patients want or need it”.
So far 20 project sites have been initiated across England working with women, maternity services and supportive system suppliers to provide a convenient way for pregnant women to access their digital care record.
As of July this year there are 15 sites live with the Women’s Digital Care Record. There were 51,040 first-time logins to the record between January 2018 and June 2019.
Initial research findings from NHS Digital’s digital maternity programme, which includes providing women with access to their digital care record, are expected to be published in October 2019.
The NHS initially committed to providing 100,000 women with access to the digital tools by March 2020, but has delivered on the promise early.
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