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Patients 'should have digital health record from birth to death'

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Currently most patients have separate patient records held in different parts of the health service, which is regarded as inefficient and not in their best interest. Stock image

Currently most patients have separate patient records held in different parts of the health service, which is regarded as inefficient and not in their best interest. Stock image

Currently most patients have separate patient records held in different parts of the health service, which is regarded as inefficient and not in their best interest. Stock image

Leading HSE managers, including hospital chiefs, have called for all patients to be given their own individual electronic health record, holding all their personal information which could last from birth to death.

A new survey, released ahead of this week's annual conference of the Health Management Institute of Ireland (HMI), showed 60pc of health bosses want a patient to have one record tracking them through GP care, community services and hospital.

It means that whatever point of the health service a person links into, their vital medical and other relevant details are readily available.

Currently most patients have separate patient records held in different parts of the health service, which is regarded as inefficient and not in their best interest.

"It is unsurprising that most senior health managers in the country consider the need for service integration as a key priority. It is evident that this need is best met through a connected electronic healthcare record for every citizen in the country that tracks the patient from primary care, to acute services, right through to community services, which would essentially follow the patient from birth to death," said Lorcan Birthistle, HMI president.

The survey included 166 of the most senior officials across the health sector, almost half of whom work in acute hospitals. While some hospitals are already rolling out electronic healthcare patient records, the institute has pressed for it to "become an urgent priority among policymakers to ensure all healthcare institutions are adequately resourced to seamlessly share patient information".

The study also revealed the need for updating of hardware and software as well as cyber security and data analytics were among the priorities of investment in technology in the healthcare service.

The findings also highlighted the managers' view that there needs to be an update of capital infrastructure along with ensuring funding is shared out in catchment areas based on needs such as demographics.

Irish Independent