The government will invest £1 billion to cut down on “paperwork and bureaucracy” by sharing patient records between GP surgeries, hospitals and out of hours doctors.
Healthcare professionals providing emergency care will be able to access complete patient records across England for the first time.
According to the government, accessing the information will allow doctors and nurses to spend less time “filling in paperwork”.
Also, it could stop drugs being prescribed incorrectly because a patients’ paper notes have been lost.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “It is deeply frustrating to hear stories of elderly dementia patients turning up at A&E with no one able to access their medical history, and for their sakes as well as all NHS users we need to put this right.
“But rather than imposing a clunky one size fits all approach from Whitehall, this fund will empower local clinicians and health services to come together and find innovative solutions for their patients. Technology is key to helping our A&E staff meet the massive demand they face as the population increases and ages.”
This new funding will help deliver the government’s commitment to allow everyone to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions online by March 2015, as well as give everyone who wants it online access to their GP record.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: “Patients find it massively frustrating when they have to give their personal details or medical history multiple times over, sometimes three or four times in one hospital visit. Clinical and support staff find it just as frustrating having to ask them.
“If today’s funding is invested in the right tools and technology on wards, in clinics and in the community, clinical staff can spend less of their valuable time filling in forms and more of it giving patients the care and treatment they need.”