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Last week, eHealth Ireland published the key findings from the public consultation.
With regard to the issue of consent for healthcare professionals to access their data, two-thirds of respondents (67 per cent) indicate that they are comfortable consenting to allow all healthcare professionals to access their data. However, a significant minority (30 per cent) would be more comfortable consenting to allow access to their health records to individual healthcare professionals on a case-by-case basis.
Concerns over privacy and data protection are a prominent theme that emerges in the data, with a number of respondents suggesting confidentiality breaches as a potential barrier to implementing EHRs, as well as the release of information to third parties, like insurance companies.
Other respondents stated how the EHR would put a stop to documents being mishandled and accessed without permission, as electronic files are safer than the current “conditions most files are kept in”.
The results also highlight concerns regarding the time it would take to implement the EHR, the cost of its implementation and the training required. Another obstacle raised by respondents is the lack of broadband availability throughout the country.
With regard to where respondents think the EHR programme should prioritise its focus in terms of care-setting, respondents believe the focus should be on hospitals in the first instance, followed by community healthcare and then other specific healthcare organisations.
The EHR consultation was issued by the HSE at the end of 2015. The consultation contained six questions overall — four closed-ended survey questions and two open-ended questions. There were 287 respondents to the survey.