EReferral will save €2.6 million

Moving to 100% electronic general referral will result in a saving of €2.6 million a year, Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer HSE and Chief Executive Officer eHealth Ireland and Ms. Gemma Garvan – HSE told the Conference.

Gemma Garvan and Richard Corbridge
Gemma Garvan and Richard Corbridge

Mr. Corbridge and Ms. Garvan and made a joint presentation on “Enhancing capability, knowledge and timely access to information.

” They said that over 40 per cent of GPs were now using electronic referral everyday with consequent savings. “It is phenomenal without additional investment or resources and shows that digital can make a difference and how enthusiastic Irish healthcare is for digital. It will also ensure that waiting lists become accurate. EHealth should be seen as an enabler and not as a cost to the health service.

” They emphasised that the successful delivery of eHealth required clinical leadership. Clinical systems must be integrated and speak to each other. An electronic healthcare record was the ultimate goal. Integrated care was only possible with digital change as a catalyst. They were also anxious to point out that solutions achieved for the public healthcare system could also be used in the private system.

Epilepsy geonomic sequencing being included in an EHR could hopefully save many lives.

They said that eHealth Ireland vision’s was “To improve population wellbeing, health service efficiencies and economic opportunity through the use of effective and innovative digitally enabled solutions.”

EHealth Ireland would be the:

  • Accreditation Body for eHealth
  • Design Authority for eHealth solutions
  • Delivery Vehicle for strategic eHealth Programmes and Projects
  • Commissioner of eHealth Services
  • Custodian trusted broker for Electronic Health information
  • Driver for Innovation in eHealth
  • Demonstrator of clinical leadership

They said that HSE Director General, Tony O’Brien had five key priorities for EHealth Ireland between now and Christmas:

  • To deliver a digital identify to all staff by December 23.
  • Provide support to roll out the national Medical Laboratory Information System at St. James’s Hospital.
  • Propose a solution to address the waiting list challenge set by Minister Harris by October and put it in place by Christmas.
  • Put a solution in place for GPs to remove “tractor” hardware.
  • All aspects of the Maternal and Newborn Clinical Management system (MNCMS) to go live on time.

Mr. Corbridge said the Secretary General of the Department of Health had a vision that EHealth would become the single custodian of health information.

The Individual Health Identifier (IHI) would use personal data to accurately identify a specific individual. This data would include; name, gender, PPSN, date of birth, address and nationality. The IHI central function was now live, it had the demographic information allowed in the health identifiers act and a unique number for every patient in Ireland.

The IHI delivered the key to accessing information, without it information remained local. Impenetrable data that could never drive change and certainly would not enable a learning health care system. The IHI changed the outlook for integrated care, allowing a patient to begin to understand what integrated means. In the next 4 – 6 weeks they would start connecting systems to the unique health identifier.

A number of programmes of work were currently being undertaken – Epilepsy geonomic sequencing being included in an EHR could hopefully save many lives. Sixty people under the age of five died in Ireland last year due to circumstances related to epilepsy. With a budget of €1.2 million it was hoped that genomic sequencing could save 60 lives and €5 million a year.

Deploying Ireland’s first health care supply chain management solution to patients ‘ homes could save over €20m in first the three years.