Solent NHS Trust has become the first trust in the country to go live with an personal health record (PHR) system that facilitates an integrated approach to the remote delivery of sexual health services.

The PHR will enable trust patients to book and amend clinic appointments online, improve their experience by allowing them to create and manage their own patient record, and streamline delivery service by allowing clinicians to digitally triage their patients.

Once fully implemented, the service also gives patients access to repeat contraception, postal testing kits, results and prescriptions, plus offers a secure and anonymous partner notification service.

PHR has been designed by Inform Health with a view to alleviating pressure on sexual health clinics, particularly in light of the nationwide squeeze on sexual health funding, and with digital services becoming more popular as a result of Covid.

The new digital service will help support Solent’s sexual health services by creating joined up electronic patient records. This will help the trust to better understand how patients are using the service and improve the way they target services and plan future provision.

Ynez Symonds, sexual health services’ head of quality and professions for Solent, said: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do so making their lives easier and being able to drill down to see what’s happening with patients in our area, so we can effectively target services, is really important.”

She continued: “PHR remains a top priority for us. I see it marking a real turning point for how patients access services and take greater control of their sexual health and wellbeing. I also think PHR will play an integral role in helping us to better target health promotion through quality data delivered through system integration.”

Solent NHS Trust provides community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Thanks to enhanced visibility over patient data with integration with in-clinic systems, the trust will have a clearer picture of the service and be able to make decisions based on facts and figures over future needs.

Susan Bunn, Inform Health’s commercial director, has previously championed self-service for sexual health to empower patients.

On the new launch she said: “Online sexual health self-service software that integrates with in-clinic systems to offer providers and commissioners holistic visibility over patient usage, while encouraging enhanced patient access, convenience and autonomy, supports a number of objectives. It has the potential to significantly reduce operating costs, allow more accurately designed services and targeting of resources, improve health outcomes as well as empowering patients to manage their own health needs and improving patient experience.”