Department of Health unveils new £9m digital health records system

Fri, 18/12/2020 - 11:11 -- Editor

The HSC has invested £9m in a new electronic patient record system which will improve healthcare services for patients and assist healthcare providers in the sharing of medical records in a much more efficient and secure way.

The Digital Identity Service, which is a new suite of technology tools, will be provided by DXC Technology.

Explaining the decision to invest in the technology, David Bryce, Assistant Director of ITS said: “We currently use the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record, which gives clinicians access to patient information. It relies on patients having their Health and Care Number available to bring together the care record for patients. This new software will enable more accurate matching and sharing of patient records and will build upon the Health and Care Number record already in use. All members of a team looking after a patient will have all the most up-to-date information about a patients details available quickly and accurately.”

The new system will also help improve the efficiency of back office operations. When patients move between GPs it will remove the need for many paper based processes which are currently required.

Karen Bailey, Chief Executive of BSO said: “I am delighted that DXC Technology has been awarded the contract to provide the Digital Identity Service (DIS).  The Digital Identity Service is a significant investment being made by the Department of Health who have commissioned this programme at a critical time for the HSC in Northern Ireland. The Chief Digital Information Officer recognises the importance of sharing accurate and timely data between our systems to ensure patients’ records are secured and all clinicians have up to date data on the citizens and patients they serve.”

Rowan McGrath, Managing Director of DXC Technology in Ireland, added: “DXC is delighted to have been awarded this significant technology modernisation project.  We look forward to working in partnership with the HSC and applying our innovative Enterprise Technology Stack capabilities to transform how patient data is managed and shared throughout the HSC Community in Northern Ireland.”

The Digital Identity Service (DIS) is the latest step in transforming care for people in Northern Ireland. The new system will not only help us deliver better care now but also in the future, as we will begin to build up data about our population and how we treat them. It will replace two legacy systems and help us correctly identify patients across all Health and Social Care systems. It will consolidate, simplify and improve how patient identity is managed and shared throughout HSCNI services which will underpin the delivery of an Integrated Care Model and the planned changes to the Health and Social Care operating model which are part of the Health and Social Care rebuild programme. The main benefit of having a Digital Identity for each patient is to uniquely identify each service user and therefore, improve patient safety by reducing errors that might happen, such as ensuring patients receive the correct medication, vaccinations, and treatment.