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More effort needed to promote Healthmail among hospital managers and clinicians

The HSE primary care email service launched in November 2014 to support the secure exchange of clinical information between GPs and hospitals.

By the end of November 2014 some 547 users had signed up. By October this year there were 2,171 users, compared to 1,340 in October 2016.

Healthmail was expanded to community pharmacists earlier this year. At the end of October there were 488 pharmacy Healthmail accounts, while more than 10,000 messages were sent and received via Healthmail in October.

According to an ICGP Healthmail Evaluation Report, published in March, more than 100,000 clinical emails were transmitted by Healthmail in 2016.

The report outlines the views of respondents following a survey of 645 users, a review of usage statistics and 10 semi-structured interviews. “Amongst Healthmail users, 61 per cent believe that Healthmail improves patient care,” the report found.

“Overall 63.3 per cent of respondents suggested that integrating Healthmail with their GP practice software system would improve Healthmail.”

The survey also revealed that users felt Healthmail should not be used to transmit routine administrative memos and mass mailings.

“The service needs greater buy-in from managers and clinicians in hospital and primary care teams to achieve its full potential. It should continue to be promoted widely and be supported with educational activities,” the report reads.

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