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New patient records system will benefit every person in Northern Ireland, says Poots

New patient records system will benefit every person in Northern Ireland, says Poots
Friday, 26 April 2013

He was speaking days before thousands of leaflets will be delivered to households across Northern Ireland as part of a public information campaign to raise awareness of Northern Ireland’s first Electronic Care Record (NIECR) system.

Speaking about NIECR, 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 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. More timely access by healthcare professionals to more complete information will benefit all patients, reduce duplication and wasted time, and improve safety – for example, doctors can check your x-rays and test results on the computer as soon as they are available so your treatment can start sooner.

“As this is likely to affect every person in Northern Ireland, I want everyone to understand how NIECR will work for them, and that is why 760,000 leaflets will drop through everyone’s door over the next few days to explain about the introduction of the NIECR.

“Confidentiality and data security remain a key priority across the HSC and the NIECR has undergone rigorous testing and can only be accessed by authorised staff over the secure health and social care network who need to see it to support patient care.”

On a recent visit to the United States the Minister saw at firsthand how electronic records there are being used to intelligently enhance patient safety and quality of care, predict potential illness, maximise uptake of screening programmes and limit adverse drug reactions, using prompts for healthcare workers to intervene. These are exactly the kind of areas in which Minister Poots envisages the Northern Ireland ECR transforming health care in the province.

The Minister concluded: “This is a new and innovative way of doing things, and an example of how cutting-edge technology, clinical leadership and a collaborative approach can transform information into better care for patients."

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 a value of approximately £9 million over the next seven years.

Dr Carolyn Harper, Project Chair of the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record, said: “The Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record truly has the potential to transform patient care.

“For the first time, it will give doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other staff all of the information they need to provide the best care for patients. It will mean better, safer and faster care for patients. It’s great news for patients and staff.”

Notes to editors:

1. More information on the NIECR can be found online

2. Media queries to DHSSPS Information Office on 028 9052 0579, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be immediately returned.