A plan to share patient records will allow doctors to access medical histories on their computers. The Medical Association and Canossa Hospital are jointly launching the programme. The association president, legislator Lo Wing-lok, said they were seeking to link the computer systems of all 12 private hospitals, 3,000 private medical practitioners and the Hospital Authority. Thus far, 12 private doctors and Canossa Hospital have signed up for the programme. Linking them constitutes the first phase of the project. There are no projections on when the programme will be fully implemented. Hong Kong may become the world's first city with a centralised database for all patients once the systems of the public and private medical facilities are fully integrated, according to project co-ordinator Ho Chung-ping. Dr Ho said it would help patients if their doctors had a comprehensive view of their medical records. But he said patients with privacy concerns could opt out of the data-sharing scheme. 'I do not see data sharing would give rise to any conflicts of interest among private hospitals or doctors because they would attract patients with their services, not the information they have,' Dr Ho said. Information to be shared includes drugs that have been prescribed, results of laboratory testing, doctors' records, as well as the specific drugs that patients are allergic to. But the association is considering excluding 'sensitive' data such as the records of sexually transmitted diseases. Deputy project co-ordinator Sammy Sou Son-chio said the association had thoroughly considered the issue of patients' privacy and the security of medical records. Dr Sou said patients' records would only be accessible to their own doctors and medical workers. But patients' Rights Association spokesman Tim Pang Hung-cheung expressed his concern over the privacy of patients, saying hospitals and doctors should obtain full consent before they were allowed to share the information - instead of offering patients an opt-out option.