The Welsh Government has pledged a £7 million investment to develop a national digital system to support maternity care.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan announced the move, saying the system will be rolled out around Wales over the next two to three years.
The system will be developed by Digital Health and Care Wales in partnership with the Centre for Digital Public Services, following the former’s work on a discovery project, and will be integrated with the NHS Wales app and website.
Currently all of the country’s health boards use different systems, digital and paper based, and the new one should help healthcare professionals share information more quickly and enable the boards to plan services better.
Safety and efficiency
Morgan said: “Several recent reviews of maternity services in Wales and the UK have called for the creation of a unified digital system.
“This new system will be safer and more efficient thanks to faster, better information sharing. It will also give women much more control over their maternity records and allow them to feedback to midwives and doctors much faster, via an app that will have records of all their discussions with health professionals.”
Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, Sue Tranka added: “During the course of their pregnancy women will see several different midwives and doctors sometimes across different health boards, so having one all-Wales digital system will make that journey much smoother.
“It will also reduce bureaucracy and duplication, freeing up more time for those health professionals to focus on people.
“Via the app we will be able to send pregnant women health advice, reminders for things like getting their flu jab as well as important personal medical messages.”
Vision for digitisation
The move comes from a feature of the Welsh Government’s Maternity Vision for Wales, published in 2019, which urged the more widespread digitisation of records.
Among the current shortcomings are that no health board is able to review real time clinical information, and that patterns and issues of concern are identified and reported late, which increase the risk in maternity.