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.
Speaking of the EHI award, Des O'Loan, ICT Strategy Manager, Health and Social Care Board, Northern Ireland stated that "the EHI award was reward for the determined and collaborative efforts of Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI) to implement a world class electronic care record for all the citizens of Northern Ireland (NI)".
Since going live on July 4th 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 NI 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, unsurprisingly, 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.
Describing how the NIECR has enabled the delivery of better quality and safer care, Des O'Loan commented: "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. "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 3 hours 45 minutes to 22 minutes," continued O'Loan.
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, UK & Ireland at Orion Health commented: "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.
"Both awards are impressive achievements. An HSJ award is widely regarded as one of the most sought after accolades in British healthcare. An EHI award recognises excellence in a competitive field. We look forward to building on these successes by helping other health and care organisations across the UK to deliver similar results."
O'Loan concluded: "Working closely with Orion Health and extremely talented colleagues in our Trusts and Business Services Organisation we have created and implemented a solution that is making a significant contribution to improving care across Northern Ireland. The fact that 97% of our clinicians find the NICER useful and 100% would recommend it to colleagues brings even greater satisfaction. The NIECR team was extremely proud to be recognised for this achievement and accepted the EHI Award on behalf of everyone across the HSCNI who contribute to this outstanding achievement."
Related news articles:
- Orion Health's Profile
About Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (HSCNI)
Uniquely in the UK, Northern Ireland's single Health and Social Care Board commissions the delivery of integrated health and personal social services from a range of delivery organisations across NI. Working with health and social care trusts and the BSO the HSCB provides regional leadership and manages the regional eHealth agenda, commissioning and performance managing the delivery of eHealth projects on behalf of the Department of Health for Northern Ireland.
About the Business Services Organisation (BSO)
The BSO is responsible for delivering eHealth projects and programmes commissioned by the HSCB and to support trusts where appropriate. It also provides a centre of excellence for specialist ICT expertise in procurement, implementation and delivery of regional ICT and eHealth solutions.
About Orion Health Ltd
Orion Health is a leading population health management company and is one of the world's leading providers of electronic health records (EHRs) and healthcare integration solutions to healthcare organizations. Worldwide, Orion Health solutions are used in 30 countries by more than 300,000 clinicians and used by organisations throughout the National Health Service in England and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, as well as Scotland's NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.