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Northern Ireland to get Digital Identity Service for healthcare


Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Trust (HSC) has announced plans for a new patient Digital Identity Service.

It is investing £9 million in a suite of tools to be provided by DXC Technology, with the aim of improving patient care and the efficiency of back office operations, the latter by removing the need for many paper based processes.

The new service will replace two legacy systems, providing a digital identity for each patient and making it possible for HSC to build up data on the healthcare of Northern Ireland’s population.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Department of Health said it will be implemented in phases, the first planned to go live in the final quarter of 2021 with the funcationality that manages the Health and Care Number and demographics service. The final phase is planned to go live in the fourth quarter of 2022.

It is based no a DXC Technology system used in several other countries including the Republic of Ireland, in which it managed records for five million people, and Brazil where it does so for 200 million.

The move is planned as part of changes to the health and social care operating model in the region. HSC said it will contribute to the Encompass programme, managed by the Business Services Organisation, to provide an integrated electronic health and care record across our acute and community services.

Greater accuracy

David Bryce, assistant director of information and technology services at HSC, said: “We currently use the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record, which gives clinicians access to patient information. It relies on patients having their Health and Care Number available to bring together the care record for patients.

“This new software will enable more accurate matching and sharing of patient records and will build upon the Health and Care Number record already in use. All members of a team looking after a patient will have all the most up-to-date information about a patients details available quickly and accurately.”

The timescale for the delivery of the system has not yet been stated.

DXC Technology is a significant supplier to the UK healthcare market, with recently announced projects including the provision of a terminology server to NHS Digital and an online portal for mental health self-referrals to North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.

Its managing director in Ireland, Rowan McGrath, said: “We look forward to working in partnership with the HSC and applying our innovative Enterprise Technology Stack capabilities to transform how patient data is managed and shared throughout the HSC Community in Northern Ireland.”

Image from iStock, metamorworks

Amended on 21 December to add information provided by DoH and correct typo in supplier name

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