HSE to spend €875m on health records system

The HSE is to spend up to €875m rolling out a national electronic health record system (EHR) that will enable patient information to be instantly accessed by approved medical personnel.

HSE to spend €875m on health records system

The project is being overseen by eHealth Ireland, a dedicated entity tasked with using information and communication technology to modernise the health system.

A document published by eHealth Ireland last summer outlined how the body envisages the system will work.

“When adopted across the healthcare system, the electronic health record will transform the delivery of health and social care by creating shared patient records that are the primary information source for all health and social care professionals,” it states.

“This record can also be made available to patients, service users and carers,” it says, adding that the system will address the “fragmented” nature of existing information within the health system, and that EHR will “enable sharing of clinical records across multidisciplinary teams and locations”.

The total costs involved in EHR will be outlined in a business case due to be published by eHealth Ireland, once it is approved by the HSE.

However the HSE’s chief information officer Richard Corbridge — who is also the eHealth Ireland chief officer — confirmed reports in the Medical Independent

that the scheme may cost up to €875m to introduce depending on which implementation plan gets the go-ahead.

Mr Corbridge told the Irish Examiner that EHR’s capital costs will be between €345m and €467m over five years, with revenue costs of between €302m and €408m. However a nine-year plan estimates capital expenditure of between €354m and €479m, with revenue costs of €235m to €345m.

He said access to the records would only be granted to those with a “legitimate relationship” with the patient, such as the patient, those directly providing care to the patient, and accident and emergency personnel.

A Council of Clinical Information Officers, comprising 145 members from a number of disciplines, has been formed and will offer its guidance as to how it believes EHR is to be introduced.

This, Mr Corbridge said, will ensure that EHR is built from “the ground up” and will see clinicians play an active role in designing an intuitive system.

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