Hospital patient records will now be computerised

A new €2.5m electronic based patient record system is to be introduced at Galway University Hospitals (UHG and Merlin Park Hospitals ).

The contract was signed recently by the HSE, the Saolta University Health Care Group, GUH, and software company Kainos Evolve to implement the system, which includes software customisation and scanning, over a five year period.

Ann Cosgrove, the chief operations officer of the Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the hospitals, said they have been largely dependent on paper based patient records.

These can be difficult to access efficiently on a round-the-clock basis and can incur significant maintenance and storage costs, she outlined.

"This new system will provide for the transfer from a paper based to an electronic based system that will allow staff access patient records 24/7 directly at the point of care. The project will be based at GUH initially and we hope to extend it to other hospitals in the group."

Dr Ramona McLoughlin, a consultant gastroenterologist at GUH said having patient records available immediately when people access healthcare 24/7 will be "tremendously beneficial" to the quality of patient care.

"But this new system will allow so much more than that. It will enable us to optimise care pathways, to improve workflow, to facilitate multidisciplinary team involvement, and to enhance disease specific management. It will impact on our ability to do audit and research allowing us to ensure patients receive the best standard of care currently and can avail of the latest treatments available."

Martin Molloy, the information services manager at Galway University Hospitals, said it has procured an IT portal-type solution that will allow the hospital to develop a single view of electronic and paper based data using smart scanning technology.

"This new system will allow staff access patients' records quickly and easily and reduce the cost associated with storing vast amounts of paper records."

Brendan Mooney, the CEO of Kainos Group, stated he was delighted to announce this first contract win for Kainos Evolve in Ireland.

"This is testament to the quality of our offerings and the investment that we have in our healthcare platforms in recent years. With Evolve we are confident that Galway will be seen as a leader in healthcare IT transformation and will reap the benefits of efficient, effective patient care."

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