Scottish Government
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eHealth strategy published

Patients will become more directly involved in their own healthcare and services thanks to new eHealth plans, published today.

Key priorities highlighted in the eHealth strategy include:

• The development of a national multi-channel strategy on 'citizen eHealth' to improve the range of contact that people can have with the NHS

• The use of electronic information portals by all territorial Health Boards providing essential information to front line staff, saving time and improving patient safety

• The development of a new health and social care IT strategy in partnership with local authorities, which will pave the way for improvements in information sharing between health and social care workers and see greater integration of health and social care services

• The establishment of programmes to replace paper with digital equivalents, along with digital dictation, voice recognition, scanning and video conferencing by 2014

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon today met renal patients in Glasgow who have already benefited from eHealth technology, through the 'Renal PatientView' system. The system enables them to see their latest test results online and engage in tele-consultations with clinicians.

Together with the new Strathclyde Electronic Renal Patient Record which gives clinicians across six west of Scotland Boards instant access to patient history and data, a real difference is made to renal patients' diagnosis, treatment and care.

Ms Sturgeon said:

"Our new eHealth Strategy will see Boards put new technology in place that will give patients online access to their medical records, improve patient safety, allow NHS staff to share information appropriately and move us ever closer to a paper free NHS.

"Citizens are at the heart of this new strategy and I want to see the latest eHealth technology used right across the frontline services so they can see the full benefit.

"The work done with renal patients is an excellent example of this. 'Renal PatientVew' has empowered 2,500 patients across Scotland to get better involved in their own care. The electronic renal patient record has allowed consultants to share health information freely with patients and improve the care that patients receive.

"The NHS doesn't stand still and the way that services are delivered is constantly adapting -helping to improve quality for patients and efficiency for the public purse.

"eHealth has a pivotal role to play in delivering efficient and effective care to citizens of all ages across our country."

Renal PatientView aims to provide secure online information about renal patients' diagnosis, treatment, and their latest test results. Patients can share this information with anyone they want, and view it from anywhere in the world. It can also be used by both patients and their consultants during tele-consultations and video consultations.

In March 2011 some 16,000 patients were registered across the UK in 48 renal units, with nine more scheduled to commence in following months. Nearly 2,500 registrants were in Scotland, a 20 per cent increase in 12 months and 15 per cent of the UK total. Scotland now has availability in 100 per cent of its renal units.

Renal PatientView is funded by contributions from renal units in England and Wales and by the Scottish Government. Development funding has come from the Department of Health in England, Scotland and Wales, and from NHS Kidney Care.

The Strathclyde Electronic Renal Patient Record (SERPR) was successfully implemented in June 2010 and is hosted and managed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The other Boards involved in its development and implementation are NHS Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Forth Valley, Dumfries and Galloway and Golden Jubilee.

The Scottish Government (eHealth Programme) has provided an investment of £2 million. The six participating NHS Boards fund the operational running costs of the system.

SERPR delivers a number of clinical benefits including:

• Laboratory data for new patients is available within 10 to 20 minutes of adding the patient, significantly reducing the time spent waiting or searching for information about the patient's clinical history

• Reducing the reliance upon paper case notes

• Easy and fast data entry for clinical staff

• Giving clinicians access to a rich set of data which greatly assists with diagnoses

• Enhancing the creation and analysis of medical statistics due to the use of a single database

• Easier sharing and exchange of clinical information across the six Health Boards

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