South Devon signs Patients Know Best

E-Health Insider has an article today about South Devon Health Informatics Service becoming our newest customer. When Gary Hotine, the CIO, first got in touch with us he asked for a “Facebook for health”. He wanted a way for patients in the county to work with their doctors and nurses from any team, inside and outside the county. For example, a patient with cystic fibrosis will need the care of several specialists from different departments of the local hospital, as well a regional specialist team from outside the county, alongside the local GP and community nurses. The patient needs PKB to connect all these professionals and ensure all the information is available for safe efficient care.

Gary and local NHS South Devon clinicians have also been pioneers in using Skype for video consultations. The speech and language therapy team were first, allowing younger patients to receive training and practice with their therapists without needing to come into clinic.

We were delighted when they asked us to integrate Skype with PKB. One of our founding principles is for us to use technology that patients like and use already. Many past telemedicine efforts in the past have failed because they did not follow this principle, buying specialist medical equipment. The equipment is too expensive for wide deployment by health providers and too clunky for wide usage by patients. By contrast, Skype has hundreds of millions of people who love using it with their friends and family. Integrating with PKB brings these advantages to clinical practice.

NHS South Devon patients can register to work with their clinical teams through this page:

South Devon signs Patients Know Best

5 May 2011   Fiona Barr

South Devon Health Informatics Service has signed up with patient-controlled record system supplier Patients Know Best to provide patients with record access and online consultation functionality.

South Devon will use the Patients Know Best software for patients receiving care from the cystic fibrosis, surgery and speech therapy teams.

The initiative has got under way with clinicians using Patients Know Best for video Skype calls with patients. The next step is to make test results available to patients via the system.

Patients Know Best is a UK-based company which claims to be the world’s first patient-controlled medical records system and says it is the only one integrated into the N3 network.

Patients can use the system to create a personal electronic health record account and grant clinicians access to that account. The system also enables patients to be given online access to records such as clinic and discharge letters, prescriptions and test results.

In addition, patients can use the system to consult online with clinicians, use structured email messaging, skype video calls and work with their clinicians to create personal health plans.

Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, a Cambridge-based doctor who is the founder of Patients Know Best, told EHI Primary Care that South Devon patients will gradually be able to make full use of the functionality offered by the system.

He explained: “Something like cystic fibrosis involves complex care with multiple specialists and this system will integrate that care by allowing all those involved from GPs to community nurses, local hospitals and specialist centres to access the same information.”

The new South Devon agreement follows other pilots of the system at Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust in London.

Dr Al-Ubaydli said he believed Patients Know Best was at the forefront of the switch from paternalistic medicine where the doctor speaks and the patients listen to participatory medicine where the patient is part of the clinical team that decides how best to help the patient.

He added: “I think it should be a regulatory requirement that if you want to practise medicine in the UK you must give your patients computable electronic access to their records.”

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