Implementing ‘Patients Know Best’: Personal Health Records pilots in Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

West Midlands
Start Date: 1 Jan 2014

Project summary

This project investigates the implementation of Patients Knows Best (henceforth, PKB) technology in Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS trust (henceforth, SWBH).
PKB represents an electronic personal health record which differs from traditional medical records as they (i) give control to patients over the access and use of clinical information and (ii) connect in an integrated system, health information that is currently fragmented and dispersed across different institutions. The effectiveness of personal health records is currently debated, since arguments for higher cost-effectiveness (especially ensued by the integration of data) and patient empowerment (especially ensued by increased patient control over their information) are balanced by professional concern related to loss of control and misuse of data and by several false starts in the past, such as the Google Health platform launched in 2008 and withdrawn in 2011. These failures have been attributed primarily to issues related to the implementation and acceptance of the new systems from providers and patients, rather than to technical limitations.
Drawing upon this, we look with specific interest to the local experience of SWBH, which has already piloted PKB in the Clinical Immunology service and is now extending first it to the National Behcets service based at the Birmingham and Midlands Eye Centre, and then to Diabetes and Rheumatology services based at Birmingham City Hospital. The PKB pilots in SWBH are currently pursuing multiple objectives, such as engage with established patient groups and clinicians in each of the above clinical areas to promote knowledge, engagement and uptake; facilitate e-communication with GP and other specialists through the PKB system; enable professional advice from e-access for patient in order to reduce inappropriate hospital follow up; define and assess the benefits of PKB uptake to scale-up its implementation to whole trust.

Dr Giovanni Radaelli