National Standard for an electronic patient summary will improve patient safety
HIQA has published a National Standard on information requirements for a national electronic patient summary.
A national electronic patient summary contains the minimum patient information that is needed to help healthcare practitioners make more informed clinical decisions at the point of patient care. For example, when the patient’s clinical information is unknown to the clinician because the patient is unconscious or cannot remember the medications they are taking.
This National Standard defines the information requirements for an electronic patient summary for the purpose of unscheduled care, for example, out-of-hours and emergency care. The type of information included in the national electronic patient summary includes: demographics, health problems (diagnosis), medications, allergies, procedures and vaccinations. The national electronic patient summary is intended to be accessed by authorised healthcare practitioners who work in emergency departments or out-of-hours care and by the patient’s usual general practitioner. Ultimately, the patient should have access to their national electronic patient summary.
HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, Rachel Flynn, said: “A national electronic patient summary can deliver significant benefits for patients and healthcare practitioners. It can improve patient safety considerably by providing the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date clinical information about the patient at the point of care. For example, if a patient can't remember their allergies, a healthcare practitioner can check the electronic patient summary to make sure the medication they give the patient is safe for them to take.”
The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy published in August 2018 prioritises the implementation of summary care records to support information sharing, patient empowerment and the development of digital services.
Ms Flynn continued: “A national electronic patient summary can also benefit healthcare practitioners by enabling a more efficient way of working and quicker access to patient information. It also encourages good record keeping and improves data quality in primary care.
"The National Standard published today is a key building block in the development of an Electronic Healthcare Record in Ireland and will ultimately help improve patient safety.”
For further information contact:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, HIQA, 01 814 7480 / 086 2447 623, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to the editor:
- A national electronic patient summary is not the entire medical record, but the relevant set of information needed to treat a patient in unplanned care. In the future, it may be possible for the patient summary to be integrated with other eHealth systems such as a national Electronic Health Record.
- The National Standard on information requirements for a national electronic patient summary can be found at: https://www.hiqa.ie/
- HIQA has also published a short guide to the National Standard. The guide, called What is a National Electronic Patient Summary?, can be found at: https://www.hiqa.ie/
- HIQA has also produced a short animation explaining how a national electronic patient summary can benefit patients. The animation can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/user/hiqavideo/videos
- An electronic patient summary is a ‘snapshot in time’ of the most relevant aggregated demographic and clinical data to enable continuity of care, healthcare coordination and patient safety.
- Electronic patient summaries help healthcare staff to treat patients with specific needs, such as people with intellectual difficulties, cognitive impairments, or complex conditions, as well as people who take numerous medications.
- Electronic patient summaries are particularly helpful when the patient cannot remember details of their medication or medical history, has complex conditions or medications, is unconscious or unresponsive, or is not able to answer questions because of intellectual challenges, language difficulties or other factors.
- The Slaintecare Implementation Strategy prioritises the implementation of summary care records to support information sharing, patient empowerment and the development of digital services.
- A six week public consultation was undertaken to inform the development of the standard
- Engagement with patients and frontline staff including emergency staff and general practitioners was undertaken through focus groups and interviews to inform the development of the standard
- The standard was developed in conjunction with HIQA’s eHealth Standards Advisory Group