Health Secretary Alex Neil on US visit to learn about use of online health records

Scotland’s Health Secretary, Alex Neil, is visiting a leading health service in the USA to learn about their online records system.

He is visiting the Veteran Authority during his visit to Washington DC, to hear how they have pioneered the use of online health records.

NHS Scotland has made significant progress in moving away from paper records but today, 6th December, the Health Secretary has committed to exploring how online records could be shared with patient and their carers in Scotland.

Online services allow immediate access to health information when and where it is needed.

This will ensure patients receive care quicker and it will free up staff time to spend in direct patient care while decreasing the number of medical errors.

The Veteran Authority oversees the health care needs of over eight million Veterans enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the nation’s largest integrated health care system.

Alex Neil says: ‘As technology continues to evolve, digital health e-tools will play an bigger part of our NHS.

‘We have made huge progress in improving access to patients’ health records, with significant investment in modern IT systems since 2008, providing the building blocks to join up online record systems.

‘However we know that there is more to be done and welcome the opportunity to meet with the Veteran Authority to hear about the management of their system and the many benefits it has delivered.

‘Web-based personal health records are one of the best and newest ways patients can keep track of their own care, including lab results and prescriptions.

‘We will be looking at this project closely to see what learning we can take from it to help us provide the highest quality digital services to the people of Scotland.’

An opportunity to share lessons from both sides of the Atlantic, the visit will provide a valuable insight on the significant advances the Veteran Authority has made in online services over the past five years.

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