13-08-2015 | Epilepsy Electronic Patient Record used to trial new IHI numbers

13 August 2015
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The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has launched the new Individual Health Identifier (IHI) system, which will see everyone in the country issued with a unique, lifetime number to help track patients through the various health and social care services.

The Epilepsy Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is one of three existing databases that will be used to trial the system before it is rolled out extensively.

The EPR was originally developed by Beaumont Hospital and launched in 2010, with details of 1,000 epilepsy patients. It has since grown to over 5,000 records and following the setting up of the National Epilepsy Clinical Care Programme, it has been implemented in regional epilepsy centres including University Hospital Limerick, University College Hospital Galway, St James's and Connolly hospitals Dublin.

This secure web-based record is facilitating the sharing and exchange of clinical information across traditional organisational boundaries. Regardless of geographical location, authorised personnel involved in epilepsy care can have access to patient records. It is hoped that the EPR will eventually become the repository for healthcare records for everyone with epilepsy who interacts with the health service in Ireland.

The new IHI record is being introduced to accurately identify each person and to enable health and social care 'to be delivered to the right patient, in the right place and at the right time'. Healthcare providers will use the IHI when communicating with other healthcare providers about a patient's care. The number will therefore work to improve communications and also patient safety by reducing the number of errors that occur.

The IHI will not contain any healthcare information. It is expected to contain the person's photo and signature; name; DOB; security questions and PPS number.

Epilepsy patients on the EPR will begin using the IHI later this year and a full rollout is expected thereafter.

For more on the Individual Health Identifier System, see the HIQA website.

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