Prestigious awards recognise Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record for outstanding informatics

Orion Health-powered system delivers information for faster, safer, better care

Health and Social Care Northern Ireland were among the winners at the HSJ Awards 2014

The Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR) powered by Orion Health technologies has won both the HSJ Award for Enhancing care by sharing data and information and the EHI Award for Best use of IT to support integrated health services in recognition of its outstanding contribution to informatics.

HSJ judges praised the way clinicians in all care settings were able to access a range of information about patient care from different providers. The country’s pragmatic approach to solving the problem of information sharing also won acclaim.

The EHI award was reward for the determined and collaborative efforts of HSCNI to implement a world-class electronic care record for all the citizens of Northern Ireland

Speaking of the EHI award, Des O'Loan, ICT strategy manager at Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI), said: “The EHI award was reward for the determined and collaborative efforts of HSCNI to implement a world-class electronic care record for all the citizens of Northern Ireland.”

Since going live on July 4, 2013, the NIECR is now being used by over 18,000 health and social care professionals to care for over 472,000 patients, or nearly 27% of total Northern Ireland population. The system integrates more than 70 million messages from sources spread through acute, community, pharmacy and social care sources.

System usage is continuing to increase and has received overwhelmingly-positive user feedback, with over 94% of respondents in a recent outpatient clinic survey saying NIECR had improved the quality of patient care. One consultant in Belfast described the system as ‘the single-most-useful IT advance in healthcare’.

The NIECR implementation and delivery team, made up of talented individual from across the HSCNI, have managed the integration over 60 disparate systems, such as PAS, laboratory, radiology, medications and clinical documents throughout all Northern Ireland’s health and social care trusts to provide care professionals and their support teams with the single-best view of important health and social care information needed to deliver the best care for their patients.

The Orion Health portal and integration technologies have provided a flexible infrastructure which underpinned the smooth implementation and delivery of the NIECR solution. The web-based portal allows authorised clinicians to see details of past or ongoing activity including diagnoses, investigations and encounters across the HSCNI.

A recent audit of NIECR use in one of our outpatient setting revealed that 84% of clinical users agreed the NIECR had contributed to a better clinical outcome and 89% agreed that the NIECR had improved patient safety

Describing how the NIECR has enabled the delivery of better quality and safer care, O’Loan said: “A recent audit of NIECR use in one of our outpatient setting revealed that 84% of clinical users agreed the NIECR had contributed to a better clinical outcome and 89% agreed that the NIECR had improved patient safety.”

However, care quality is not the only area where the NIECR has made an impact and care efficiency has also improved.

O’Loan said: “Using the NIECR to look up patients data saves clinicians significant time every day, compared to using existing legacy systems. For clinical pharmacists, there has been a very significant reduction in the time required to carry out the reconciliation of patient medication on admission from an average lapsed time of three hours 45 minutes to 22 minutes.”

In the recent outpatient clinic audit other benefits were identified. Of the patients seen at the outpatient clinics, 27% reported that duplicate Lab tests had been avoided, 8% had duplicate radiology exams avoided, and 3% avoided an additional outpatient review appointment being booked. This saved further inconvenience for the patient and also saved clinical time and other valuable resources.

Colin Henderson, managing director at Orion Health, said: “Being recognised by both EHI and HSJ awards for outstanding informatics work which enables information to be shared safely across boundaries within healthcare organisations and between agencies providing patient care is a fantastic reward for both Health and Social Care Northern Ireland and Orion Health.

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