I have had a Key Information Summary (KIS) on my notes for a number of years and until today I have always taken it for granted. For me it is something that has always been and I just assumed that it was something that everyone with a chronic health condition had.
Today at an Asthma UK British Lung Foundation Partnership Patient Advocacy Group Meeting I learnt that not everyone has a KIS. I was quite shocked because my KIS has made my life so much easier.
While I was finding more information about KIS I discovered it is actually a pilot here in Scotland and I could not find information about it in England or Wales or Northern Ireland. It might be there is something similar.
What is a KIS?
A KIS or key information summary is information held on your GP record that is composed by your GP giving anyone who accesses you record key information about you. For example mine has a brief history of my asthma, how it presents, my knowledge of my condition and when I should be seen or when I need to go to hospital. It also has key contacts such as my respiratory team and next of kin details as well as my allergies and diet I have to follow.
Why is a KIS important in a severe chronic health condition?
When you have a chronic health condition such as asthma which can affect people differently you will not always fit the generic assessment questions that you might be asked. If I was to call NHS24 (the health service here in the UK out of hours helpline) with my asthma I would be asked a set of questions that every asthmatic would be asked. The problem is is that the call handler does not have a massive amount of medical knowledge and generally the answers I would give would almost always trigger an ambulance response when I really do not need one because my asthma is not textbook and my day to day life is affected by my asthma. I am never rid of symptoms.
Having a KIS gives key information when it is needed has made my experience in out of hours and NHS24 healthcare so much easier than it was previously. I do not need to answer 101 questions and then have someone tell me that they don’t feel safe prescribing me anti biotics because I sound so awful etc. It is really hard being a patient when you are unwell to explain to the Dr’s that you do not need to go to hospital etc when a “normal” patient that they might see would actually be very poorly because it is so far from their norm where as my norm is not far from how I am presenting to them. So this is where the KIS is so vital.
My advice for others who may not have a KIS and think it might be helpful for them is to ask your GP to create one. Myself and my GP co-created my KIS so I know what is in it and have been able to input my views as well.
More information on a key information summary for those in Scotland can find it here