Technology is transforming the way healthcare services are delivered to patients in Northern Ireland.
That was the key message from Health Minister Edwin Poots when he visited the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen to see first-hand how both patients and staff were benefiting from the latest advancements in healthcare technology.
During his visit, the Minister took the opportunity to view the hospital’s new Electronic Document Management (EDM) system. Implemented in paediatrics at the South West Acute Hospital, the system is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. It commenced as a pilot project in March this year in the Enniskillen hospital with a view to extending it to other hospitals across in the province in the future.
Electronic Document Management means that patient information is stored on a computer and can be easily accessed by consultants, doctors and nurses involved in the care of that patient. It cuts down the need for paper records and physical storage. It improves patient record management accuracy and, in turn, increases efficiency and staff productivity.
Speaking during the visit to the state-of-the-art hospital which opened in June 2012, the Minister said: “This is a highly sophisticated system which will transform the way medical case notes and associated documents are managed and accessed by healthcare professionals. It will fully maximise the potential of the recently launched Electronic Care Record by enabling patient records to be fully automated and accessible 100% of the time where they are needed, at the point of care. By enhancing workflow in this way we can significantly improve efficiency, and also bring about meaningful improvements in the quality of patient care and clinical decision-making.
“Solutions such as these which facilitate more joined-up services are vital to the implementation of the health and social care reform programme set out in Transforming Your Care (TYC). It is another example of how we can use technological advances to alleviate pressure on our healthcare professionals and deliver a more efficient, safer service to patients."
Chairman of the Western Trust, Gerard Guckian said: “EDM is a cutting-edge flagship project offering tremendous benefits for patients and staff. Our staff are very impressed with the new system, it is quick and easy to use and they spend less time retrieving, transporting and waiting to receive patient files. Patient details can now be accessed in real time and this helps with the treatment and care packages which are put in place in our hospitals.
“The Trust is delighted with the benefits that the system is already bringing to the Trust and we look forward to extending this system to other areas.”
Mr Poots also visited Ward 4 Theatres, Maternity Services, Critical Care and Radiology, where the use of technology remained the overall focus.
Notes to editors:
1. The Western Trust is working with a Belfast-based company, Kainos, using its flagship software system ‘Evolve’ which has been successfully implemented in a number of acute hospitals throughout the UK.
2. The Western Trust is the first in Northern Ireland to introduce Electronic Document Management. It is a pilot project and subject to evaluation.