Dublin Fingal TD, Alan Farrell, has said that the report on patient records, published by HIQA, echoes his calls for online patient records as far back as 2013.
Providing online patient records is a key step in delivering a modern healthcare system that will benefit patients, hospital staff and medical institutions. I first raised the need for this measure in Dáil Eireann in 2013. I am therefore pleased to see a HIQA report has recommended the development of a ‘citizen health portal’.
The implementation of these mechanisms would not only give patients more control and reassurance over their own information, but it will also allow for an increase in efficiency when it matters most. By having a centralised and accessible system, healthcare professionals will be able to access important information, without undue delay. This will ensure continuity of care, irrespective of the health care setting.
The absence of online patient records or a database replicating them, can result in delays and repetition within the health system, which of course has knock on effects for other patients and procedures.
There is of course the obvious circumstance, which under the current system can be problematic, whereby a patient must attend a medical facility in an area they do not live or have no history of attending.
There are some systems already in place within the HSE that allow data sharing for specific uses, such as the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) prescriptions database. This shows that we do not have to reinvent the wheel to put this policy in place.
Online patient records makes engaging with the health system easier and more efficient for everyone and will move Ireland’s health system forward.