Northern Ireland launches national patient record system for health and social care

9 July 2013

Northern Ireland has launched an electronic care record system for its 1.8 million population that integrates acute, community, primary health and social care records.

The web-based portal system will enable the communication and sharing of patient data taken from multiple, existing information systems.

Following a successful proof of concept pilot involving the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, the Belfast City Hospital and local General Practices, a contract was signed in May 2012 with Orion Health to deliver the portal and integration technology behind the NIECR, with an approximate value of £9 million over the next seven years.

As part of the preparations, a public information campaign has been undertaken, which included a leaflet being sent to each Northern Ireland household introducing and explaining the Northern Ireland’s first Electronic Care Record (NIECR) system.
Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots said, “The NIECR gives our doctors and nurses a window into all the important health and care information that they need to provide the best care for a patient. They will be able to look at information currently held in a multitude of different systems across the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care (HSC) sector, to see details of past or ongoing diagnoses and investigations or treatments. This will enable better, safer, faster care and treatment for everyone whose care team uses the system.”

As Dr Roy Harper, Consultant Endocrinologist, South Eastern Trust, testifies: “I have been using the proof of concept system for more than three years now and it has transformed how we run our clinics and wards. The ECR makes our job of providing the best care we can to patients so much easier.”

Maeve Hully, Chief Executive of the Patient and Client Council, said: "People have told us they cannot understand why the right information is not available to those making decisions about their care, in the right place at the right time. The Patient and Client Council welcome this sensible development, which reflects what people want and expect. It will avoid the need for people to tell their story many times to health care staff.”

Commenting on today’s successful launch Colin Henderson, UK and Ireland Managing Director, Orion Health, said: “The HSC ICT strategy is not a future ambitions document — integrated care is here. The response from clinicians and patient groups to the Orion Health Clinical Portal ECR has been overwhelmingly positive. I've had several clinicians tell me that it has revolutionised the way they work. The NIECR will contribute significantly to improving patient safety and outcomes.”  


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