The tool called Communicator will allow patients to email clinicians using the online HealthSpace service. CfH said that, because the messages will never leave the system, they will be more secure than regular email.
The IT agency is hoping that GPs will use Communicator for consultations that do not require face to face contact, such as repeat prescription requests.
‘There will be no incentivising of this tool,' said Dr Gillian Braunold, a north London GP and the clinical director of HealthSpace.
‘[But] we expect it will become invaluable in helping to manage patients with long-term conditions, and will aid quality framework reviews.'
A number of practices will pilot the scheme from April 2009. It should be more widely available by the end of next year.
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