• Registration for online services

    Registration for online services including “Managing new applications for record access”, “Identity verification” and “Responsible use of online access by patients and proxies” 

    Managing new applications for record access

    Online access brings benefits for patients and the practice. Transactional services offer efficiency and convenience. Record access is an essential part of patient centred care. It can help patients manage their long-term conditions and be more engaged with their care. Access by family members and carers will help them to care for the patient.

    However there are risks to patients and the practice team in implementing online services. The guidance describes how to manage new applications for online access to minimise these risks  by carefully registering new patients, even if they already have access for transactional services. It covers the areas where practices may want to develop documented policies, procedures and staff training.

    Identity verification

    Most general practice services rely on varying levels and methods of identity verification. However, a more secure identity verification process is required before full online access to appointment booking, repeat prescription ordering or record access services may be enabled for a patient. These processes need to be simple, quick, patient-friendly and not overly demanding for the practice.

    Please see NHS England guide Patient Online Services in Primary Care | Good Practice Guidance on Identity Verification, and links below for an overview of the process within the guidance document and a checklist and example protocol in the supporting material section.

    Responsible use of online access by patients and proxies

    Before new patients register for access to a practice’s online services, it is important that they understand that they will be responsible for protecting the information about them that they will see. The same applies to anyone registered as having proxy access to a record.

    This section explains what the practice should ensure that the patient knows to protect the confidential nature of the practice record. It includes guidance for keeping online access to the practice secure, the benefits and risks of sharing access with third-parties, how proxy access works, and how patients should arrange with the practice for a third-party to have authorised access to their records. 

    See below for guidance for general practice, plus supporting documents:

    Registration for online services - guidance for general practice:

    • Managing new applications for record access - guidance for general practice: PDF
    • Identity verification - guidance for general practice: PDF
    • Responsible use of online access by patients and proxies - guidance for general practice: PDF

    Registration for online services - supporting material:

    • Identity verification - Getting ready checklist | step-by-step guide: Word PDF
    • Identity verification - Example practice protocol: Word PDF
    • NHS England patient information leaflets
    • Proxy access - Guidance for general practice: PDF
    • Example registration form: Word PDF
    • Coercion - Guidance for general practice: PDF
    • Getting started with records access - Guidance for general practice: PDF
    • Patient Online: The Road Map: PDF

    “Identity verification” and “Protecting patients and practices” eLearning – available here (free registration/ login required)