Encompass is a Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI) wide initiative that will introduce a digital integrated care record to Northern Ireland.
HSC currently uses lots of different IT systems which cannot, or cannot easily, communicate with each other. Many of these systems are old, outdated, and require replacement. Rather than continuing to rely on paper records and replacing technology on a system by system basis, encompass will use this opportunity to better use IT investment to transform and rebuild the way we care for people in Northern Ireland.
Following a successful contract award in May 2020, the encompass team and HSCNI colleagues are working closely with Epic, our chosen supplier, on key pre-implementation and planning activities.
The encompass system will be designed and built by our people, for our people.
It’s where medical notes will be made, medicines prescribed, tests ordered and referrals made and received.
Patients and their carers will be able to book appointments, review test results and correspondence, and communicate with those providing their care.
The system will provide real-time, up to date information to all those involved in caring for our patients, empowering them to make efficient, effective, patient-centred decisions.
Epic are global leaders, and bring over 40 years of experience of successful implementations at 300+ organisations like HSCNI, both in the UK and around the world.
For more information visit the Epic website.
Information will no longer need to be stored across multiple systems, reducing duplication of effort, and allowing care providers to securely see the right information, in one location, in real-time, enabling improved continuity of care.
Care providers will no longer need to rely on paper based, admin heavy processes. This will free up staff to provide greater patient, client or service user focus, improving both staff and patient experience.
Improved, modernised and digitally enabled communication will allow patients, clients and service users to communicate and interact with their care providers, empowering engagement and involvement in their own health and social care.
Many of our systems are outdated and are reaching their end of life. Rather than relying on paper records and manual processes, or replacing old systems individually, this is our opportunity to invest in technological reform to transform and rebuild the way we care for people in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland has always been at the forefront of using information technology for the best clinical care. We currently use a system called ECR which allows us to see patient information from a lot of different systems. But while it’s been a success, we still rely on paper to make notes.
Some of our systems are very old – 30 years in some instances – and they need to be replaced. The world’s best healthcare providers all have wraparound electronic health record at their centre. We want to be a global exemplar of digital. We want the best for our population and, in today’s world, that requires world class digital systems based around patients and support clinicians.
While we have tried to keep up with these advances we need new underpinning technology to foster further development and put Northern Ireland on the right footing for the future. Encompass is the solution.
HSC have a legal, regulatory, corporate and ethical duty to protect and maintain the security and integrity of personal information for those we are responsible for.
The data stored and processed within any HSC information system, including encompass, is subject to key legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines, which ensure a consistent and high standard of information security across HSCNI.
The system will only be accessible over the HSC secure network, and patient data can be accessed only by the authorised staff who need to see it to support your care.
We are working with leading technology companies who have implemented electronic patient systems globally to minimise risk and to safeguard the system.
It is essential that any data about individual patients, clients and service users:
The encompass Information Governance Advisory Council has been established to oversee, support and drive the development of encompass information governance arrangements and practices and provide assurances that the mechanisms are delivered and embedded across HSCNI and any other involved organisations. The key deliverables for this work fall under the areas of Data Protection, Data Sharing and Information Governance.
This is undoubtedly a major investment and over time it will give us a better understanding of how we spend money in healthcare, helping us to measure outcomes and better target where we spend money throughout health and social care.
Whilst technology will never replace the compassion and dedicated service of staff right across our acute, community and social services, encompass will offer us many opportunities to improve the way we do things, to improve patient, client and service user experience and deliver the best possible care.
It will help facilitate different ways to care for people, allowing more care to be given out of hospitals, accelerating treatment pathways and reducing the risk of harm to patients.
Healthcare staff will be empowered to make informed, patient-centred decisions, based on the best evidence available at their fingertips.
Initially the system will allow patients to schedule appointments, view simple test results, order prescriptions, complete electronic check-in and fill out information such as demographic, allergy and history questionnaires in advance of an appointment.
By accessing the MyChart patient portal via web browser or iOS/Android app, patients and their carers will have secure, patient-friendly access to review and contribute to some portions of the electronic record used by their clinicians and other care providers.