Thousands sign up to electronic patient records

The number of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) patients who have signed up for remote access to their healthcare records has now hit 20,000.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which runs the QEHB, launched myhealth@QEHB in 2012 and has seen numbers increase steadily in the last six years.

Developed by UHB’s in-house Technical Development and Informatics Team, the portal allows QEHB patients to remotely access some of the their clinical information held by the Trust, including letters, appointments and laboratory results.

Patients can also upload information to the portal, allowing clinical staff to instantly see updates and respond where necessary. The facility to store and share files relating to their health as well as add appointments from other hospitals helps create a more complete picture of their healthcare.

The system is particularly useful for patients who live outside of Birmingham and the West Midlands, enabling them to take an active role in managing their hospital journey. Anne Bingham-Jones, a transplant patient referred to QEHB from her home in Cheshire is one such patient who uses the portal regularly, “having access to my results, scans and correspondence through myhealth@QEHB has made a huge difference to maintaining my relationship with my consultant and my overall health. I’d tell anyone to use it.

“As a patient who lives outside the local area of QEHB, the myhealth@QEHB system has really helped to improve my quality of life. Prior to signing up, I had to make a round trip from Cheshire to Birmingham every three months, though at one time I was requiring weekly appointments. Not only was this draining, it took a whole day each time. Now, through myhealth@QEHB I have a direct line of communication with the hospital without having to be there in person. I’m delighted with it.”

Anne’s Consultant Hepatologist, Dr James Ferguson, is Clinical Lead for the portal. “Opening up clinical information empowers patients and transforms the doctor-patient relationship from a paternalistic one to a partnership. Once in place the patient portal also allows innovative ways of working such as video clinics and remote monitoring.”
Work on the portal is ongoing, with UHB hoping to build on the success of recently piloted video consultations, allowing patients to have an appointment with clinical staff from the comfort of their own home.