The World Health Organisation defines eHealth as:
‘the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health.’
Northern Ireland has the advantage of integrated health and social care, and the definition has therefore been extended to health and social care.
This definition includes all aspects of technology and information management, including remote telecommunications to support patients and clients.
The eHealth and Care Strategy published on the Department of Health website, sets out a vision of what can be achieved in Northern Ireland by maximising innovative technologies in the delivery of health and social care. It includes a range of measures for the increased use of digital technologies to support the delivery of health and care services between now and 2020.
The development of the e-Health and Care Strategy was led by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and Public Health Agency (PHA) and developed in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders including; the public, patients and their carers, community and voluntary groups, Health and Social Care staff, the independent sector, MLAs, MPs and local Councillors, professional representative bodies, Trade Unions and Councils.
The draft Strategy was issued for consultation by the HSCB between October 2014 and January 2015 and launched by the Minister of Health on 3 March, 2106. The HSCB gave careful consideration to the responses, which helped to shape the final strategy document.
The strategy is built around six key objectives –
The NI Electronic Care Record (NIECR) makes a patient’s care information available to their care professional electronically, for safer, faster, better care.
The success of the NIECR has raised the level of ambition for sharing information for better care. There are now plans for a package of new online resources to allow citizens to interact with the Health and Social Care system and to provide information on self-care and health and care services, these include:
The Electronic Health and Care Record (EHCR) –