The Local Health Record Network (LHRN)
Currently patients’ health records are not available outside individual GP’s practices. If a patient needs to seek medical care when their own GP practice is unavailable, the onus is on them to remember all the relevant details. By making health records accessible to other medical professionals we believe the quality of healthcare patients receive will be improved.
The LHRN covers the 24 GP practices in Herefordshire. It is planned to go live on 1st July 2014 when health records will be made available to approved, local healthcare providers via Data Sharing Agreements between individual practices and 3rd party organisations. All staff accessing these records will have undergone appropriate training and will be properly accredited by Taurus Healthcare Ltd.
On each occasion access is requested the patient will be asked for consent before records are accessed; the only exception to this would be in an emergency when someone was too unwell to give consent.
Every patient has the right to opt out of sharing their health records; this can be done by completing an ‘Opt Out Request Form’ which is available from their GP Surgery’s Reception. The patient’s choice is logged within the system to prevent any part of their records from being shared. It should be noted that any shared data would only be seen by healthcare practitioners who are treating or due to treat a patient and only the areas of the record that the consulting doctor deemed relevant would be viewed.
GP practices use a secure computer connection to protect health records. Similarly access to the LHRN will be achieved via this method using an extremely high level of encryption applied to any data sent or stored which, essentially, makes any attempt to gain unauthorised access impossible. There is a comprehensive audit trail which tracks every record access, including who accessed it, which areas were affected and when it happened. A percentage of patients will then be phoned to check that consent had been given. ALL records where consent was over-ridden (e.g. because a patient was unconscious) will be closely reviewed.