Ireland should look to Nordic countries in allowing patients access to their medical records – Colm Burke TD

25 November 2020
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

Ireland should look to other countries like Norway and Sweden where patients can access their medical notes through a secure online portal, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Cork North Central Deputy Colm Burke, Fine Gael’s spokesperson on health, said, “There have been changes in how healthcare is delivered as a result of Covid-19, with GPs changing how they deliver patient care by providing assessments over the telephone and through the use of video technology.

“Never have these technological advancements with regard to E-Health been so important and there is now an opportunity to build on this in the future delivery of patient care.

“In Sweden for example, the national patient portal, ‘1177.se’, is available for anyone seeking healthcare or health-related information.

“After authentication with a nationally approved ID, individuals gain access to personalized e-services. It is through this portal that Swedish people can access their electronic health record.

“Similarly, in Norway, citizens can access their own summary care record using a secure logon to the internet. It can also be accessed by healthcare professionals with the patient’s consent to find out critical information.

“Separately, HIQA is currently developing recommendations on a consent model for the collection, use and sharing of personal health information in Ireland. A national survey will be undertaken, and recommendations will be sent to the Minister which will then be published.

“The implementation of a national electronic summary care record is also listed as a priority in the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy, and is considered to be a crucial element of Ireland’s national eHealth policy.

“Internationally, a national electronic patient summary has been shown to provide benefits for patients, health and social care providers and organisations, in particular improving medication safety and patient care in out-of-hours and emergency care settings.

“The benefits for patients include improved efficiency of care by reducing the time, effort and the resources required to share a patient’s information across different organisations, better patient care by giving healthcare staff relevant information to make appropriate decisions about patient care and improved patient experience as patients do not need to organise or remember a list of their medications

“It is something that I would greatly welcome, and work could be done to ensure that it is implemented in a way that is compliant with data protection requirements and patient consent,” Deputy Burke concluded.

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