Online Access to someone else's Medical Records (Proxy Access)

 

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What is Proxy Access?

Proxy access refers to access to online services by somebody acting on behalf of the patient and usually with the patient’s consent. To obtain formal proxy access a person must register at the practice for online access to the patient’s record, though the proxy does not have to be a registered patient at the practice. There are a number of considerations before access can be granted.

When might proxy access be enabled?

Before the practice provides proxy access to an individual or individuals on behalf of a patient, an authorised member of staff at the practice must satisfy themselves that they have the explicit informed consent of the patient. To do this the patient must complete a Proxy Access Form which can be collected from you Surgery.

Adult patients with capacity may give informed consent to proxy access to the practice records about them. People aged 16 or above are assumed to be competent unless there is an indication that they are not. Young people under the age of 16 who are competent may also give consent to proxy access.

The person requesting proxy access to someone else's records should already have set up online access to their own medical record.

How can I request access to someone else's online medical record?

You will need to fill in a short form to inform the GP Surgery that you would like to start using online services on behalf of someone else, detailing your details and those of the patient concerned. Before the request can be completed, the patient concerned will also need to fill in a Proxy Access Form, which you can collect from your GP surgery. This is so that the surgery can be sure that you are who you say you are and that the patient has given their consent. The patient concerned will need photo ID and proof of address, for example a driving licence and a bank statement.

If you do not have any ID and are well known to the surgery, a member of staff may be able to confirm your identity. If you are not well known to the surgery, they may ask you questions about the information in your GP record to confirm the record is really yours.

Your surgery can refuse or withdraw access to records if they think it is not in your best interest to use GP online services. If this happens, they will discuss their reasons with you. 

REQUEST PROXY ACCESS
Access to someone else's medical record

 

Children and Young People

Children vary in the age at which they are able to make an independent and informed decision about who should have access to their record.

Up until a child’s 11th birthday, the usual position would be for the parents of the child to control access to their child’s record and online services. Full access will automatically be switched off when the child reaches the age of 11, although online services, such as making appointments with a professional could still be made available. However parents may be allowed proxy access to their child’s online services after careful discussion with the GP, or whoever is responsible for these decisions in the practice if it is felt to be in the child’s best interests.

Between the 11th and 16th birthdays, the young person may decide at a point, once they are mature enough to act autonomously to:

  • Stop their parents’ proxy access to their online services, where the parents still have access after the 11th birthday
  • Allow their parents to have access to their online services, or to allow limited proxy access to specific services, such as appointment booking or repeat prescription requests, but not to the medical records
  • Request access to their online services where nobody currently has access
  • Switch off all online access until such time as the young person chooses to request access

By their 16th birthday, patients should have the opportunity to be able to access online services for themselves. Where parents still have access to their child’s online services, it should usually be withdrawn when the child reaches their 16th birthday, unless at that time the child is not competent.

 

How can I grant someone else access to my online medical record?

Unless you have already done so, you will need to fill in a short form to inform the GP Surgery that you would like to start using online services. Once this has been set up you can fill in a Proxy Access Form providing details of the person you would like to have access. The person you are hranting access will also require online access to their own medical record, which they will can arrange with their own GP Surgery.

When you sign up for GP online services, you will be given a secure username and a password. These details are unique to you and, along with your personal information, will not be shared with anybody else unless you choose to share them. 

Will my carer be able to see my online record?

As above, if you want your carer to see your GP online record, your surgery will be able to help. You will need to give your surgery permission for your carer to see your GP online records, known as Proxy Access, by completing a Proxy Access Form. Please collect the Form from your Surgery.

When someone is applying for proxy access on the basis of an enduring power of attorney, a lasting power of attorney, or as a Court Appointed Deputy, their status will be verified on the registers held by the Office of the Public Guardian and recorded in the patient’s record.

If care home staff teams or home care teams ask for proxy access to online services for one of their clients, then careful consideration will be given to the balance of the benefits and risks to the patient before granting access.

 

If I allow another person access to my GP online record, can I choose what they see?

You can ask your GP surgery to allow a family member, friend or carer access to some of your online information, if they already have online access. For example, you can select what your chosen person can see such as, only online appointments or online prescription management or just some of the information in your records. The family member, friend of carer can fill in this short form to inform the GP Surgery that they would like to start using online services on your behalf. However, as the patient concerned, you will have to ccomplete a Proxy Access Form to grant them access; please visit the Surgery to collect a Proxy Access Form.  

Identity Verification

Where proxy access is requested with the consent of the patient, the identity of the person giving consent for proxy access must be verified. Please bring your I.D. with you to the Surgery when submitting the Proxy Access Form.

 

How will you make sure that patients are not forced to share their GP online information?

When you ask your surgery to register you for GP online services they will look at your request and do everything they can to make sure you are choosing online services and that you are not being forced.

If you choose to let another person see your GP online record, your surgery will look at your request and do what they can to check if your chosen person should be allowed to see your GP online record.

 

If I don’t have a computer, tablet or smart phone what will it mean for me?

Online services are an extra option for those who wish to use them and will not replace other ways of contacting your surgery such as by phone or in person.

By freeing up phone lines and reducing the need for people to visit in person, some GP surgeries have found that patients who do not have a computer find it easier and quicker to contact their GP surgery. 

 

What is the minimum age to start using online services?

While there is no official minimum age limit for using online services, children under the age of 11 would not be given access as they would usually be considered too young to fully understand their records. If a young person aged between 11 and 16 years asks to use online services, the GP will do a test to check if the young person is ready to use these services. This test or assessment is known as Gillick or Fraser competence. Once a young person reaches the age of 16, they are considered able to understand how to use GP online services and will in most cases be given access. If the surgery has any concerns, they will discuss these with the young person. 

 

If my GP only allows me to see some of the information in my GP record, what can I do?

From April 2022, patients with online accounts such as through SystmOnline, Airmid or The NHS App will be able to read new entries in their health record.

 

Will I understand the results that will be visible to me?

This question cannot be answered in general terms because your blood test results are specific to you. Your GP or the healthcare professional who arranged the test needs to interpret the results because only they have all the information necessary to do so.

Also, only your GP or consultant will know why you needed the blood test and what other tests you’ve had. It may be that all of your test results need to be assessed together.

For example, a full blood count can be used to measure all the different types of blood cells in the sample and diagnose anaemia (lack of red blood cells). However, without also looking at the results of your tests for ferritin (a protein that stores iron), vitamin B12 and folate, it won’t be clear what’s causing your anaemia and therefore what treatment you need.

Your GP will file the result to your record with some text to summarise their assessment of the result.

Some results fall out of the “normal” range. Your GP will advise whether this result is normal for you or if he would like to discuss the result further or if s/he would like you to repeat the test.

If your GP has suggested that “no action” is required, please trust that your GP is happy with this result.

Before you apply for online access to your record, there are some other things to consider. Although the chances of any of these things happening are very small, you will be asked that you have read and understood the following before you are given login details.

 

Forgotten history

There may be something you have forgotten about in your record that you might find upsetting.

 

Abnormal results or bad news

If your GP has given you access to test results or letters, you may see something that you find upsetting. This may occur before you have spoken to your doctor or while the surgery is closed and you cannot contact them. If this happens please contact your surgery as soon as possible. The practice may set your record so that certain details are not displayed online. For example, they may do this with test results that you might find worrying until they have had an opportunity to discuss the information with you.

 

Choosing to share your information with someone

It’s up to you whether or not you share your information with others – perhaps family members or carers. It’s your choice, but also your responsibility to keep the information safe and secure. If it would be helpful to you, you can ask the practice to provide another set of login details to your online services for another person to act on your behalf. They would be able to book appointments or order repeat prescriptions. They may be able to see your record to help with your healthcare if you wish. Tell your practice what access you would like them to have.

 

Coercion

If you think you may be pressured into revealing details from your patient record to someone else against your will, it is best that you do not register for access at this time. 

 

Misunderstood information

Your medical record is designed to be used by clinical professionals to ensure that you receive the best possible care. Some of the information within your medical record may be highly technical, written by specialists and not easily understood. If you require further clarification, please contact the surgery for a clearer explanation.

 

Information about someone else

If you spot something in the record that is not about you or notice any other errors, please log out of the system immediately and contact the practice as soon as possible.

 

More information

For more information about keeping your healthcare records safe and secure, you will find a helpful leaflet produced by the NHS in conjunction with the British Computer Society:

COMMON ABBREVIATIONS FOUND IN MEDICAL RECORDS