Northern Ireland rolls out £9m care record system

Software provider Orion Health will provide clinical portal-based electronic care record covering more than 1.8 million people

A new electronic care record (ECR) will be rolled out across Northern Ireland to allow the sharing of patient data between different information systems across acute, community, primary health and social care.

The announcement follows a pilot of Orion’s health ECR at Ulster hospital, the Belfast City hospital and two general practices in 2009 and 2010. The pilot involved 200 clinicians and more than 9,000 patients and provided the business case for the full roll out of the ECR across health and social care.

Under a seven-year contract worth £9m, Orion’s ECR will now be deployed in 18 acute and community hospitals, all GP practices, community, mental health and social care users across the five regional trusts in Northern Ireland.

The clinical portal will provide streamlined, secure, web-based access from a single browser view of patient information to authorised health and social care professionals in Northern Ireland, according to the government.

The system will include critical patient information, including lab results, patient medications, allergies and clinical correspondence. Audit tools and patient privacy controls have also been built into the ECR.

The implementation will begin towards the end of this year, with completion of the core elements anticipated in early summer 2013.

Health minister Edwin Poots said: “The implementation of the ECR will contribute to the delivery of the key proposals within ‘transforming your care.’ It is about improving the quality, sustainability and safety of patient and client care.

“I am confident that the ECR system will assist in developing a sustainable health care system that delivers now and will continue to deliver in the future for the good of everyone in Northern Ireland.”

As part of the contract, Health and Social Care Northern Ireland will also have access to Orion Health’s rhapsody integration engine, forms technology, patient portal and case management software, which will help support the management of long-term conditions. The government also hopes it will provide the underpinning technology framework for sharing information across multi-disciplinary teams.