Through its health information function, HIQA works to ensure that high-quality health and social care information is available to support the delivery, planning and monitoring of services, and makes recommendations to the Minister for Health in this respect.
A national electronic patient summary provides a succinct summary of a patient’s key clinical information, for example past treatment, allergies and medicines. This ensures the safe and effective treatment of a patient during an episode of unscheduled care, such as during a trip to an out-of-hours GP clinic. Use of a patient summary can lead to the identification of medicine errors, saves time during medicines reconciliation, and offers the choice of more appropriate care pathways for patients. The introduction of a summary care record—that is, a national electronic patient summary—is considered to be a crucial element of Ireland’s national eHealth policy.
HIQA has developed draft recommendations for how such a national electronic patient summary should be implemented in Ireland. For example, the type of governance structure that is needed and the importance of patient and public representation in that structure, and whether it is possible to source the clinical information in the patient summary automatically from existing or future national systems.
We would like to hear from all stakeholders, including organisations, professional and the general public, in particular patients, their carers, about these draft recommendations before they are finalised and submitted as advice to the Minister for Health. We would like the public to provide feedback and become involved in the future direction of the implementation programme.