BMJ: The terrible waste caused by our outdated system of care records

18 July, 2022

BMJ: The terrible waste caused by our outdated system of care records

(Published 15 July 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o1778

Ever since I thought about it for the first time, some 15 years ago, it’s been obvious to me that a person’s health and care records should belong to that person not to anybody else. That’s why I agreed to be the chair of

Patients Know Best, a company that brings together all the health and social care records of patients and puts them under the control of the patient.

My position is in many ways ideological: a person’s health belongs to them not to doctors, the state, or anybody else. But my position is also practical because with most health conditions, particularly the long term

chronic conditions that are now predominant, how well a person does with their health and managing sickness is down to them.1 Both of these positions might be fairly described as theoretical, but today I experienced indirectly the usefulness of a person’s health and social care records belonging to them. What I actually experienced was the waste of time and information of the records not belonging to the person. [...]

[Note from HIFA moderator NPW: The rest of this article (by HIFA member Richard Smith, former editor-in-chief of the BMJ) has been redacted for length. The full text is freely available here: ]

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT