During the three months since its launch on 8 December 2012, 38 % of all general practitioner (GP) practices in London have registered with the GP comparison site myhealthlondon, exceeding expectations.
myhealthlondon summarises how practices are performing against national standards such as the levels of childhood immunisations and cervical screening, as well as how they compare with other London practices. Each practice has its own myhealthlondon webpage, which can be customised to showcase its work and keep the public informed about clinics and services. In March 2012, the site also launched 'intranet-style' pages for all practices, which include a 'marketplace' of information and tools to support GPs.
According to NHS London, 571 GP practices have registered to use myhealthlondon in its first three months. There have been nearly 28 000 unique visitors and more than 275 000 individual page views. In a recent survey, 67 % of GPs said they liked it. The website also won an outstanding achievement award in the 2011 Interactive Media Awards.
London GP Dr Phil Koczan, who helped to develop the £120 000 (€146 000 approx.) project, said: "The fact that we have got 38 % of practices signed up so far [means we are] well ahead of expectations. There has been very little negative feedback. I would like to think that's because there was a lot of engagement with practices beforehand."
Staff engaged with the local medical committees, clinical commissioning groups and independent practices during the development of the site.
Dr Koczan added: "There was a lot of concern initially that we might get a lot of negative feedback from making indicators more publicly available, but that hasn't been the case and practices are continuing to sign up. I have had some very good feedback from patients who have used it. We have redirected our practice website to that page, so patients will go straight to the page and be able to navigate from there."
Dr Koczan's practice offers online repeat prescription orders and appointment bookings through links on myhealthlondon. He said he was keen for practices to work with their patient participation groups to encourage them to use the site, by providing information about support groups and publicising services.
He believes that increasing transparency of information for patients is important and should be achieved with clinical involvement. "The key is making data available in an easily accessible format, so patients can easily understand it, but also making it customisable to a local population, so practices can address the reasons why they have particular challenges [and explain] what they are doing to address them. It's about really creating a one-stop shop for patients. It gives them access to the outcome standards, but also enables them to communicate with practices. That means access to appointments and repeat prescriptions and, potentially, online records as they develop."