As reported recently in the Medical Independent (MI), an analysis requested by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) found that hospital waiting lists could be largely eradicated within two years through the introduction of an e-booking system, Sorsix Pinga, which is used in Macedonia and Serbia.
Speaking to MI, Mr Woods said procuring an e-booking system is an avenue the HSE is actively pursuing.
“We are putting in place an electronic record solution across the acute environment. It would be analogous to that and maybe some elements are the same,” he said.
“The strategies we are following, and we will be going to market for an electronic health record, is building in some of those aspects [of the system used in] Macedonia and Serbia. I haven’t seen an output from the NTPF so I will leave that up to them. From our point of view, we will be going to market [for] solutions to manage access and waiting times.”
Mr Woods also said that “some of these systems are very expensive and we need to have a proper process” in terms of procurement.
The HSE has already invested in patient management systems across the health service and it is also encouraging e-referral, he added.
“And we have e-referral processes underway and expanding in terms of outpatient referral and inpatient referral,” said Mr Woods.
“So in the south of the country, about 70 per cent of referrals are coming in electronically already. And in other parts of the country [it] is growing. We have to match that and maybe part of the success in Eastern Europe is around clinical protocols and what types of patients should be referred.”
Mr Woods noted positively the work done in the north-west by the HSE National Clinical Adviser in Urology, Mr Eamonn Rogers, around managing patients in the right settings.