Medical records going online

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 09:40 19/02/2014

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Patients will soon be able to access their own medical records online, order repeat prescriptions and check their latest laboratory test results.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced a national rollout of a patient portal system and said it was hoped 50 per cent of New Zealanders would have access through their GPs by the end of the year.

At a function last night, Ryall announced the new encrypted online service, along with seven "e-health" ambassadors - GPs who are already using and trialling the service.

"This gives patients much greater access to their own health information and the ability to manage more aspects of their own care," Ryall said.

"The portals also offer huge benefits for doctors, and I've already received great feedback from GPs about the benefits of having this service in their practice."

He said that over the next few years patients would be able to do more and access more of their records online as technology and security developed.

On Breakfast this morning, Ryall said the cost of the portals was minimal for the taxpayer.

"The cost mainly is to the general practice themselves, and the Government has been investing in the support we're providing in the other parts of the system that help with that," he said.

"The information that I've received - and that's why we've been trialling it - is that the systems are about as secure as your internet banking, and that's pretty good."

Between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of general practices had, or were in the process of implementing the portals.

"By the end of the year we want at least half of all general practices in New Zealand to be offering a patient portal."

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