Patients now have the option to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access records online at 97% of practices in England, NHS England director for patients and information Tim Kelsey said.
In the first quarter of 2015/16, more than 3.7m repeat prescriptions were ordered online and over 3m people registered for record access, official data show.
NHS England aims to make the health service paper-free by 2020. Part of the plans could see the entire NHS transformed into a free wi-fi zone, to increase access to records and other information for both clinicians and patients.
Officials say patients report feeling 'more engaged' in areas where wi-fi has been installed because of improved access to information and ability to make bookings, complaints or fill in questionnaires.
A GP involved in piloting online access to records said: ‘At first I was quite nervous about the prospect of patients accessing information that they may not understand, or that they may find upsetting.
‘This all changed when one of my diabetic patients signed up. Almost immediately, I could see a positive change. My patient started preparing ahead of his consultation by accessing his latest test results and comparing them to past results. This has meant the 10 minutes we get together is very productive. 10 months down the line, I am even seeing this patient’s controls are improving.’