Hospital doctors can now access health records held by family doctors for more than 200,000 people in the Wellington region.
Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) is the latest to move to electronic sharing of health records between hospitals and GPs.
Emergency doctors say what is known as a Shared Care Record will speed up the care they provide and improve patient safety in the process.
The system will enable hospital staff to see what medications a person is taking and the results of any recent tests more quickly when they go to a hospital emergency department or after hours clinic.
Peter Hicks, a clinical director at the health board, said says the information will be shared securely and patients will have access to an audit of who has been viewing it.
"So if the patient logs into the portal they can see who in the hospital's been looking at their record, which we think is probably the best way of maintaining privacy and encouraging people to behave nicely - knowing that everything they do is going to be seen by the patient."
Patients can opt out if they don't want their records shared online.
Emergency department staff say the record-sharing system will reduce unnecessary delays in treating patients overnight and during holidays.