Patients and visitors
Health records (also known as patient or medical records) are a log of your health and the treatment you have received from the NHS. We hold this information to ensure you receive the best possible care now and in the future.
How is my health record used?
Your health records are used to ensure that your clinical needs are met and that you receive the right treatment and care.
Your records are strictly confidential. Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to maintain patient confidentiality.
Some anonymous information from health records may be used for training and educating our clinical staff, carrying out medical and other health research and for planning of future NHS services. However, your personal details will be kept private.
Accessing my health records
All applications to see your Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust health records must be made in writing either by completing our application for health records form and emailing it to us, or by letter. Patients can now request to access their records electronically via the Care Information Exchange and further guidance on this is explained in the application form. Should you wish to access your x-rays or other images, please complete the application for x-rays form and email it to our team.
Completed application for health records forms should be emailed to: email@example.com
Completed application for x-rays forms should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters should be addressed to: Access to Health Records, Health Records Department, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS
Two proofs of identification are required to access your records. Please be aware that there may be a charge for this service, up to a maximum of £50. We have between 21 to 40 days to respond to your request.
Accessing other people's health records
You are not permitted to access other people's health records without their written consent and you may be required to provide additional supporting information.
Accessing the health records of people who have died
We are allowed to release the health records of a patient who has died in certain circumstances only.
Where the patient has died, the patient's personal representative and any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient's death may apply for access to the health records by completing an application form for health records (deceased) or writing to the address above. We will require proof of identity. If you have enquiries around what types of supporting information or identification is required, please contact us on 020 3313 3112 for assistance.
Your NHS number
Everyone registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own unique NHS number.
Your NHS number helps healthcare staff to identify you correctly, find your patient records and ensures the safety of your healthcare.
Your NHS number is printed on the medical card given to you when you register with a GP practice. Each NHS number is made up of ten digits, as shown in this example: 450 557 7104.
Providing care across north west London
Our staff are increasingly working with other health and social care professionals in north west London to provide care. Staff involved in your care need to be able to see relevant information about you, so we are sharing information with health and social care organisations in north west London as required. This information can include your NHS number, age, contact details, next of kin, medication and allergies, appointments, treatment and care, and test results such as blood tests, laboratory tests, and X-rays. This will ensure when you visit your GP practice, the hospital, or get support in your community or at home, your care professional will have the right information about you at the right time.
We will share your information with health and social care organisations who are involved in looking after you, unless you ask us not to. This is known as “implied consent”. If you would like to opt out of sharing your information with other health and social care organisations, or if you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your clinician or contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service.
How we protect your information
The information we collect about you, our patients
Our patients make over a million visits to our hospitals every year. We collect information about our patients during every one of those contacts. This includes personal details like name, address and date of birth, and also information about your health and care such as diagnoses and treatments.
We store this information in our electronic patient record system. This computer system is used by our clinical and administrative staff, and over the last few years has largely replaced paper records.
How your patient data supports personalised direct care
Electronic patient records have huge advantages over paper records. Clinical staff involved in a patient’s care can view the patient’s record from wherever they are on our hospital sites. Unlike paper records there is little chance of information being lost, and by simply logging on to a system rather than locating written records, allows our clinicians to spend more time with you, their patients.
Mobile phone apps offer possibilities that we are keen to exploit for the benefit of all our patients. For example, we want clinical staff to be able to assess blood test and scan results on their smartphones. This means they’re able to see results sooner and take action more immediately, if needed. Vitally, it also means they can spend more time at your bedside. There are many ways that we can use apps in a safe and secure manner to benefit our patients still further and we continue to explore these.
As you may have experienced, a single patient is often treated by a number of different parts of the NHS. But as organisations collect patient data on different IT systems, sharing information is a real challenge. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is leading a programme across North West London to address this. This programme, known as the Care Information Exchange, is funded by Imperial Health Charity and provides patients with a copy of part of their health record that they can share with carers, family and other health professionals. This excerpt comprises information from any organisation participating in the programme.
How we work with suppliers to process your patient data for direct care
Providing instant access to patient records for our clinicians, and increasingly our patients, requires the latest expertise and technology. We work with more than 30 computer systems suppliers who provide us with software, and data hosting and processing services. This includes Cerner for our electronic patient records, Carestream for medical images like x-rays and scans, and Patients Know Best for the Care Information Exchange. We are also partnering with DeepMind Health to introduce a secure mobile app, Streams, for our clinical staff. All these companies perform specialised functions on our behalf that we do not have the skills in-house to undertake, and are thus essential to our goal of supporting health and care.
In every case, the Trust is the data controller – we collect the data and we are responsible for ensuring the data is kept secure and only used in the intended way – for direct care. None of our agreements with IT systems suppliers involve any data sharing. These agreements, and data protection legislation, make clear that our suppliers, as data processors, may not use the data for any other purpose.
Personalising your care through research
Where appropriate, we also use anonymised patient information for research. Most research uses anonymised data which removes any patient identifiable information. As such, patient consent is not required for research conducted with anonymous data.
Analysing anonymised data from our electronic patient record system allows researchers to find ways to identify illnesses earlier, to develop new treatments and to scrutinize the success of treatments in different situations. This is different from using patient data to help the Trust provide direct care, but ultimately also benefits communities and public health.
Want to know more?
If you wish to find out more about how we use your information please email email@example.com
You can find out more about how we collect, use and keep secure information about your care in our leaflet.
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