Doctor holding tablet computer

Government readies e-health strategy

Life
Image: Stockfresh

20 December 2013

The Healthcare Informatics Society of Ireland (HSIS) has welcomed Government plans for the implementation of a national e-health strategy.

Under new proposals the state will prioritise e-prescribing, online referrals and scheduling, telehealth – particularly for the management of chronic diseases, and the development of summary patient records. A cornerstone of this is the Health Identifiers Bill 2013 which provides a legal basis for Individual Health Identifiers for health service users and unique identifiers for health service providers across public and private service providers.

Also promised is the appointment by the HSE of a chief information officer to head up a new body, eHealth Ireland. IT spend in the health sector will also increase from .85% to between 2% and 3% as the plan is implemented.

“All of these potential improvements have the capacity to reduce costs, improve medication adherence and speed up the allocation and management of appointments,” said a statement from the HSIS. “It is estimated that over 50% of medication prescribed is not used and 10% of hospital admissions are due to poor medication management. Intelligent systems which monitor medication adherence have a great potential to reduce this waste and improve outcomes.”

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly said: “The e-health Strategy will put Ireland in a position to fully exploit all of the many benefits which today’s information and communication technology has to offer in modernising the way we treat patients and particularly in providing care in the most appropriate setting and at the most appropriate level within the health services.”

Subject to the Bill’s passage into law, a National Individual Health Identifier Register will be set up to keep track of the Identifier and other identifying particulars relating to the individual, though it will not hold any clinical information.

TechCentral Reporters

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