smartphonePatients in Wales will soon be able to consult with their GP using a smartphone as part of the Welsh government's new digital health plan.

There will also be more opportunity to book appointments online, while people will be able to access their health records over the internet and monitor their conditions via mobile apps.

Launching the new strategy, Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM said digital technology was now "an important part of our everyday lives".

"In order to adapt to changing services and community needs we need to exploit new technological opportunities and novel approaches to implementation while at all times ensuring that confidential and sensitive patient information is secure.

"Our vision is for more interactive, personalised health and social services, allowing people to access services wherever and whenever it's convenient to them. With modern technology and information sharing, patients are often the experts in their own conditions and giving them more control over their care and access to their records can help improve their health."

NHS staff will also be expected to use mobile devices to access, collect and transmit data quickly under the 5-year strategy aimed at putting digital technology "at the heart" of NHS care.

Policies outlined in the strategy include: 

  • Patients can connect online with health services - to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions, talk to clinicians for virtual appointments and consultations
  • Patients can access their health records online - to view hospital appointments or details of GP visits, prescription and test results, and feed in details gathered from other sources such as apps and wearable devices
  • Wider use of digital tools and smartphone apps to manage health - allowing people to monitor conditions like diabetes and asthma. Smart technologies such as sensors in patients' homes will be used to help people live independently for longer
  • Digital health reminders and alerts - including medication or exercise reminders, appointment alerts and updates about agreed care plans sent direct to patients
  • Free Wi-Fi will be made available at all NHS Wales hospital sites for patients, visitors and staff to use.

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