I'm a great believer that patients/citizens should own and control all their medical and social care records.
It's an essential part of the move all health systems have to make from doing things to people to supporting them stay healthy and cope with sickness when it comes.
And in our increasingly complex health and social care systems putting patients in charge of their records allows integration of care that the systems themselves cannot achieve.
That is why I am the chair of Patients Know Best, a company that brings together the records of patients from hospitals, general practice, mental health, and social care, and puts the patient in charge of them. The system also allows online consultation, sharing of clinical pathways, high-quality information, and results of tests in real time, and much more.
We now have contracts to do this for 20 million people in the NHS and are beginning to operate outside Britain. You can learn more here:
Sharing records is aso part of reducing the carbon footprint of health systems, something that all systems need to do.
Competing interest: RS is the unpaid chair of Patients Know Best but has equity in the company.
HIFA profile: Richard Smith is chair of the Lancet Commission on the Value of Death, the Point of Care Foundation (which works to make health care more humane), and Patients Know Best, a company that gives patients control of their health and social care records. He was previously editor of the BMJ and chief executive of the BMJ Publishing Group, chair of icddr,b (formerly International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh), and director of the UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative, a programme with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to create centres in low and middle income countries to conduct research and build capacity in relation to NCD. He blogs regularly for the BMJ and on his own website (https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com). richardswsmith AT yahoo.co.uk