New Conservative proposals will allow NHS patients access to their medical records online, it has been revealed.
Under the new scheme, the information would be hosted on the internet by a company such as Google or Microsoft and it could be read securely in the same way as online bank account details.
An independent review of NHS IT, requested by shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien, prompted the new plans. It also calls for a revamp of IT provision in the NHS, giving individual trusts more control.
A social networking environment for patients to share experiences online has also been put forward as a means of improving communication between doctors and patients.
Consultation between doctors and individuals would determine the extent to which the records could be changed or deleted.
The new proposal comes as the government's £12 billion scheme to computerise records becomes increasingly mired in problems and delays.
Mr O'Brien said: "Giving patients greater control over their health records is crucial if we are to make the NHS more patient-centred."
Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: "It could be used by epileptics to record when they had fits or people with depression to identify triggers of their condition, helping clinicians."
Your comments (terms and conditions apply): "To allow this does have some benefits but I am not entirely convinced it will be beneficial to the masses. I can just about remember my many pins and passwords the fewer I have to retain the better. Who exactly will ensure full cofidentiality and security from abuse by others?" - V Henry, London