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The Department of Health eHealth strategy in 2013 identified that the development of patient summaries should be an early priority project. An electronic patient summary can provide timely access to the treating healthcare professionals on the patient’s clinical history and have also been used out of hours by pharmacists..
An electronic patient summary is a concise document and it usually contains a minimum set of the patient’s most relevant and up-to-date clinical information which can help clinicians to make more informed clinical decisions at the point of patient care. The information contained in an electronic patient summary includes demographic information related to the patient and health information, including diagnoses, procedures, medication, allergies and vaccinations.
HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, Ms Rachel Flynn said “to meet these demands, a number of countries have focused on developing electronic patient summaries. The draft standard that we have published sets out information requirements for a national electronic patient summary.”
“A national patient summary can deliver significant benefits for patients, service users, service providers, and others involved in sharing patient information. An electronic patient summary can support clinical processes and improve patient care by providing timely, accurate information needed to enable better communication among clinicians, patients and other healthcare staff. It can support the continuity of patient care between healthcare settings, and internationally, electronic patient summaries have proved to be very beneficial in the area of medication safety.”
Patients and other people using healthcare services, service providers, and the general public are now being asked to provide feedback and become involved in the future direction of this patient summary standard.