Amir Hannan has been awarded this year’s John Perry prize at the British Computer Society’s Primary Healthcare Specialist Group conference in Oxfordshire for his pioneering work in patient record access (PRA) in the UK. The GP and information management and technology lead for Tameside and Glossop PCT won the award for the most important personal contribution to primary care computing for his online electronic health record access system. Dr Hannan’s system allows all patients to see a basic summary of their records at any time. It is currently being piloted within his own surgery, the Haughton Thornley Medical Centre in Hyde.

Dr Hannan told EHI Primary Care: “I have always been in favour of letting patients have access to their records. The EMIS Access scheme allows patients to have real-time access to their patient records, rather than having to wait around surgeries to find out results, make appointments or even order repeat prescriptions.”

The GP, who is based in Dr Harold Shipman’s old practice, is keen to see a more trusting relationship develop between clinicians and patients. The system improves the relationship between clinicians and patients, he explains, as it allows them to see all their information immediately, and provides practical support for patients in managing their health.

“The system will allow people to log on to their system and check for any news they are waiting for at any time of the day. They can then contact our out of hours service, NHS Direct or the local Accident and Emergency ward to find out what steps they need to take next, speeding up the treatment process. “In a surgery such as this one, having access to medical notes will help make patients and clinicians more at ease with treatments, especially for serious illnesses, and can help to ensure that problems such as overdoses do not occur.”

Patients register with their GPs to access the information over the internet, and can also check their data using kiosks in surgeries and make new appointments or order repeat prescriptions on them. Before being piloted, the system was scrutinised by the Local Care Record Development Board at the PCT. They ensured that the system was secure, and would not break patient confidentiality. Dr Hannan says there are still issues that need addressing, but this can only be done when the system is more thoroughly rolled out and more patients give feedback to their GPs.

“There are some issues such as third party data, sensitive issues such as teenage contraception and security that need looking into, but on the whole feedback from my surgery has been good, with two of my patients even agreeing to let the NHS use their records as live data. “However, I believe that it is only by having complete access to their data that patients can really benefit from this system. If, for example, a patient was involved in an accident and taken to A&E, then doctors there could get a complete insight into the patient’s history and offer them the best medical attention possible.”

Dr Hannan won £500 after giving his presentation to the conference on the new EMIS and PAERS (Patient Access to Electronic Records) system. He said he was “extremely pleased and hopes to see the system rolled out across the country as soon as possible."

View Amir's presentation