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Northern Ireland DoH signs digital care record deal

11/06/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Northern Ireland’s Department of Health (DoH) has agreed on a deal with Epic Systems for the development of a single digital care record for the region.

The contract is set to run for 10 years from the date of the first trust going live with the system, with the possibility of a five-year extension and at an initial value of £273 million.

DoH said it is part of a planned £300 million ICT investment over 10 years under the Encompass programme, which is aimed at providing a record for every citizen and supporting digital transformation of the health service.

The record will replace a number of systems across acute, community and social care services, the foremost being patient administration systems that are seen as approaching obsolescence. It is aimed primarily at giving GPs access to the information.

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust is scheduled to be the first to go live with the system during 2022, following a design and configuration process involving staff, patients and carers. The DoH expects all trusts to be using the record by the end of 2024.

Robin Swann

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann (pictured) said: “We are calling time on the current situation of multiple, ageing digital systems and a large reliance on the paper record. 

“This investment will improve outcomes for our patients and service users by making it easier for our HSC professionals to deliver sustainable, high quality care, improved efficiencies and greater collaboration across all care settings.”

He added that the immediate priority for the DoH is the local response to the coronavirus pandemic, but that this could feed into longer term developments.

“For example, virtual clinics will increasingly be embedded in the provision of care,” he said. “That innovation has been fast tracked as a result of coronavirus.

“It is here to stay. Further digital innovation will revolutionise services and Encompass is a major step in that direction.”

Image from ni-health.gov.uk, Open Government Licence v3.0

Amended on 11 June on recepit of extra information from DoH.

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