More than 55 million patients across England can now book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view summary care records online.

Data shows that over 97% of patients are now able to use such online services, marking a huge increase from 3% a year ago and “a key milestone on the road towards becoming a truly modern and dynamic healthcare system which is responsive to what patients want,” says NHS England.

According to health officials, online access will not only make it much easier for patients to manage their healthcare but should also reduce the admin burden for practices, thereby saving resources and enabling a greater focus on frontline care.

Under current targets the NHS is scheduled to go fully digital by 2018, as part of which everyone should be able to access their full health records via the internet, offering easy access to medical information on GP and hospital visits, prescriptions, test results, and adverse reactions and allergies.

But concerns over security issues linked with storing patients’ health information electronically remain, with critics arguing that the system is still too open to abuse by human curiosity and cyber attack.