Healthcare professionals and patients will be able to access medical records online in an attempt to improve services and see which treatments are effective in each individual.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the new measures had been introduced to “make patient-power a reality and take the hassle out of using the health service.”
The strategy aims to improve access to information for the NHS, public health and social care within a ten-year framework.
By 2015 patients will be able to book GP appointments online, order repeat prescriptions over the internet and check test results electronically.
Patients’ medical records will be made available electronically online allowing easy access by individuals and anybody they wish to refer them to.
Also, individuals will be able to contact GP surgeries by email when requesting items such as sick notes.
The Royal College of GPs has agreed to lead work on supporting individuals to access services and records electronically. From next year, it will work alongside the NHS Commissioning Board to promote the new services.
Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS Commissioning Board, commented: “Information is critical to the transformation of the NHS. To get the best outcomes for our patients we must enable them to make informed decisions about their care and wellbeing – be that choice of service or how to best manage their own health.”