Secure health record sharing with no big build

Emergency department doctors in the north of New Zealand who are trialling a new service allowing access to general practice medical records are using the program up to 20 times a night, the developers say.

Developed by NZ companies HealthLink and Dr Info, the new Care Insight service allows ED doctors to access patient records, including recent prescriptions, recent diagnoses and medical alerts, held in GP practice systems.

The service, which is being trialled in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand as well as in Gisborne and Northland, requires both the patient's and the GP's consent to access the records by ED doctors, with the records never leaving the practice.

All access to the patient record is tracked, so GPs are notified when their patient is checked at ED and a record is requested. GPs keep full control of patient data since Care Insight runs securely on the practice's HealthLink server, the company's CEO, Tom Bowden, said.

“The primary thing it does is allow the person going into an emergency department as a patient to have their primary care and pharmacy records looked up,” Mr Bowden said.

“If you go into emergency care they will immediately use a Care Insight system to scan all of the GP records in the region to find out where you have been and then go and get a chart. It solves a lot of time spent in hospitals chasing around trying to find out what medications they are on.”

If the patient is unconscious, the next of kin is asked to give consent or a medical officer will take it into their own hands, he said.

The system requires regional collaboration, so HealthLink is offering it to both primary care organisations (PHOs) and district health boards (DHBs).

“We've had it for a year in regional centres,” Mr Bowden said. “It's in Hawke's Bay, Nelson, Gisborne and into Northland. In places like the Hawke's Bay, we have it up and running and it's used up to 20 times a night.

“A very common usage is when people don't know what medications they are on so they can go and find out exactly what they have been prescribed and or dispensed.”

He said that in contrast to national systems such as Australia's PCEHR, this sort of system is cheaper, simpler, easier to use and doesn't require large centralised infrastructure. “It is browser-based from the hospital system but the actual software is on the GP's site,” he said.

Mr Bowden said HealthLink was steadily rolling the system out in the rest of the country.

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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