Fran Yeoman in The Times has a story today detailing some of the successes of Dr Amir Hannan’ practice – Horton Thornley Medical Centre in Hyde, Manchester.
Dr Hannan has taken on the care of patients of Harold Shipman, the GP and convicted serial killer, who hanged himself in prison in 2004 after being found guilty of 215 murders and 45 suspicious deaths. The bond of trust between doctor and patient was shattered in this community – and medical records were at the heart of the problem because Shipman had been abusing these secretive files by prescribing drugs in people’s names without their knowledge. To overcome the fear his predecessor created, Dr Hannan knew that he had to give power back to the people and he has achieved this with the help of a highly secure web portal. Today Dr Hannan’s patients can read every word of their records by logging on to any computer, anywhere.
Yvonne Bennett, a patient of Dr Hannan claims that the ability to log on to her medical records online has dramatically changed what it means to be a patient. “I really feel in control of my health,” the 60-year-old says. “It has changed my relationship with the doctor: it has become a discussion when I see him, rather than him saying Do this, do that’.”
Not only is this a great example of how transparency can lead to greater trust in the healthcare profession, but the improved patient access to their health information is leading to empowered patients who have greater awareness of their own health and improved levels of medication compliance.