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Projected capital costs for an EHR for public health services in Ireland, spread over the period 2016 to 2022, amount to €467 million, while the revenue costs over a longer period, up to 2026, are estimated at €408 million.
The costs are contained in the HSE’s business case for the EHR, which is due to be published on the eHealth Ireland website shortly.
Commenting on the costs, Mr Richard Corbridge, HSE Chief Information Officer, said: “When we consider though the recent launch of an EHR for just one large hospital in the NHS has a cost set at around £60 million then we can start to see the value to taking a countrywide approach.”
Mr Corbridge pointed out that the EHR business case has been created in such a way as to provide commercial protection to the healthcare system, so the HSE will only pay for systems once implemented and they will only be implemented when the health system is ready to do so. He said this approach is “a huge lesson learnt” from a number of other countries that have tried to roll out EHR systems.
The EHR is currently being piloted through three different HSE “Lighthouse’ projects, in both the hospital and community setting. An EHR for all women and babies in maternity services in Ireland (the Maternal and Newborn Clinical Management System) is being rolled out on a phased basis this year.
A public consultation process for the EHR ran until the end of January. Initial findings show that the vast majority of respondents feel the EHR will create a positive change in how they interact with the healthcare system (88 per cent), while 93 per cent answered that they understood what the EHR is. Almost two thirds (66 per cent) of respondents said that hospitals should be the first focus of implementing the EHR, followed by community healthcare. With regards to access, 67 per cent said they would give consent to all healthcare professionals, while 30.7 per cent said they would prefer consent to be given with every access of their EHR.