The Local Health Record Network (LHRN)
Previously, patients health records were not available outside individual GP practices. If a patient needed to seek medical care when their own GP practice was unavailable, the onus was on them to remember all the relevant details.
By making health records accessible to other medical professionals we believe the quality of healthcare that patients receive has been improved. The LHRN covers the 24 GP practices in Herefordshire. It went live in 2014 when health records were made available to approved, local healthcare providers via Data Sharing Agreements between individual practices and 3rd party organisations. All staff accessing these records have undergone appropriate training and are properly accredited by Taurus Healthcare Ltd
On each occasion when access is requested the patient will be asked for consent before records are accessed; the only exception to this would be in an emergency when someone was too unwell to give consent.
Every patient has the right to opt out of sharing their health records; this can be done by completing an ‘Opt Out Request Form’ which is available from their GP Surgery’s Reception. The patient’s choice is logged within the system to prevent any part of their records from being shared. It should be noted that any shared data would only be seen by healthcare practitioners who are treating or due to treat a patient and only the areas of the record that the consulting doctor deemed relevant would be viewed.
GP practices use a secure computer connection to protect health records. Similarly, access to the LHRN is achieved via this method using an extremely high level of encryption applied to any data sent or stored which, essentially, makes any attempt to gain unauthorised access impossible. There is a comprehensive audit trail which tracks every record access, including who accessed it, which areas were affected and when it happened. A percentage of patients are phoned to check that consent had been given. ALL records where consent was over-ridden (e.g. because a patient was unconscious) are closely reviewed.