Surveys have shown that e-health is important to Irish patients, but the service remains largely unavailable

The European Parliament has set a target that every patient in Europe have access to electronic health records by 2030. And with countries like Estonia and Finland in a much better place in terms of digital health than Ireland, the government must take action to ensure progress is made, say HIQA.

Rachel Flynn, Director of Health Information and Standards for HIQA, said, “we’re predominantly dependent of paper-based systems, particularly in the community – there are some digital systems, but they don’t talk, or interconnect.”

“The medications your GP has prescribed to you, for example, are provided to the hospital in a letter format. It’s quite old-fashioned, in a way, that we haven’t caught up to using digital solutions in Ireland.”

Last month, HIQA published a new report outlining four key policy areas crucial to the development of e-health, a historically under-funded initiative in Ireland.

These include a national health information engagement strategy, a new legislative framework, appropriate national governance structures, and improved infrastructure to support the collection, use, and sharing of data – all areas in which Ireland is lacking.

Surveys conducted by HIQA show that e-health is important to Irish patients, with 97 per cent saying they believe it is important for healthcare professionals to have access to their information.

Meanwhile, 86 per cent said they would like to have access to their own digital records via a national patient portal, as is available to patients in Denmark.

Source: Irish Medical Times