Intended for healthcare professionals


Personal electronic health records: MySpace or HealthSpace?

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 08 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1029
  1. Michael R Kidd, professor of general practice
  1. 1Discipline of General Practice, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia
  1. michael{at}

Report of the NHS pilot is too premature to provide answers

The NHS, through Connecting for Health, is introducing two types of online health record for everybody in England—the summary care record and HealthSpace.1 2 The summary care record is being introduced in five “early adopter” pilot sites. An independent evaluation of this implementation was released this week.3 Delays in deployment, with summary care records in only two sites to date, mean that the evaluation cannot provide the concrete answers that many people were hoping to see regarding consent, patient acceptance, and clinical benefits.

The summary care record is a centrally stored summary of health information created initially from general practitioner records. It contains information on current medications, adverse reactions, and allergies. Proponents of the summary care record expect to see improved patient safety, with reductions in preventable errors, improved access to vital information, and better informed patients.1

HealthSpace is a separate initiative that allows patients to record selected data in their own internet based health record, with control over how they share this record with healthcare providers.2

The implementation of personal health records by the NHS has been closely scrutinised. Reports by a ministerial taskforce in 2006 and the House of Commons Health Committee in …

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