HIQA launches public consultation on electronic patient summary standard

Date of publication:

HIQA has launched a public consultation on a health information standard to specify the clinical information needed for a national electronic patient summary.

An electronic patient summary is a concise document, and it usually contains a minimum set of the patient’s most relevant and up-to-date clinical information which can help clinicians to make more informed clinical decisions at the point of patient care. Typically, the information contained in an electronic patient summary includes demographic information related to the patient and health information, including diagnoses, procedures, medication, allergies and vaccinations.

Internationally, electronic patient summaries are used when a patient presents to out-of-hours clinics or emergency departments. The electronic patient summary can provide timely access to the treating healthcare professionals on the patient’s clinical history, possibly at times when the patient’s general practitioner is not available. They have also been used out of hours by pharmacists to check all medication that the patient is prescribed when they attend pharmacies.

On one hand, patients expect information on their health to be recorded, processed and used appropriately for their benefit, while people working in healthcare need access to complete, valid and up-to-date health information so that they can make informed choices and decisions.

Rachel Flynn, HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, comments: “To meet these demands, a number of countries have focused on developing electronic patient summaries. The draft standard that we have published sets out information requirements for a national electronic patient summary.

“A national patient summary can deliver significant benefits for patients, service users, service providers, and others involved in sharing patient information. An electronic patient summary can support clinical processes and improve patient care by providing timely, accurate information needed to enable better communication among clinicians, patients and other healthcare staff. It can support the continuity of patient care between healthcare settings, and internationally, electronic patient summaries have proved to be very beneficial in the area of medication safety.”

“We look forward to receiving your feedback on the draft standard. We want to hear views that will inform the development of this standard.”

Patients and other people using healthcare services, service providers, and the general public are now being asked to provide feedback and become involved in the future direction of this patient summary standard. The closing date for your feedback is 5pm on Friday 21 September 2018.

To take part in the public consultation, click the link at the bottom of the page.


For further information please contact:

Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement 01 814 7480 / 086 244 7623 mwhelan@hiqa.ie


Notes to editor

  • The Department of Health’s eHealth strategy in 2013 identified that the development of patient summaries should be an early priority project and indicated that it would be delivered by eHealth Ireland.
  • The eHealth Ireland organisation is responsible for realising the vision of the eHealth Strategy, and one of its strategic projects is the development of a national electronic health record.
  • eHealth Ireland is also leading on a project to share electronic patient summaries, with patient consent, with other EU countries. In order to achieve both objectives, a national electronic patient summary is required.