Improving patient information access

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The Western Isles Health Board is changing the way it stores and uses information from GP records in two separate but connected developments.

Improvements are to be made to the way information is stored about patients so that the NHS staff can have ready access.

The way patient information is collected from GP records will also change, and will be centralised to help plan health services in the future.

This first development is the introduction of an Electronic Medical Record (eMRec).

This is where information from all the separate patient records for each person currently held in different locations is brought together into one digital version that can be accessed from anywhere within NHS Western Isles.

The creation of this electronic record means that your medical history can be accessed, wherever you are being seen.

At the moment, information from your GP record is not routinely available to hospital staff in an emergency.

The programme of creating these universal health records is to be carried out over the next 18 months, beginning in February.

It will not include all your GP record – just certain pieces of information. These items are: significant medical history, current medical conditions, current repeat prescriptions and allergies / hypersensitivities.

Data Protection laws govern the way this transfer will be done and restrict who can see your Electronic Medical Record.

The second digital development is Public Health Information (PHI) data sharing. This is connected to work being done across NHS Scotland and aims to support the planning of health services.

Starting in February anonymised information from GP records will be available for public health and healthcare planning purposes.

Access to this information will be strictly controlled and restricted to a small number of specialists.

Talking about these developments NHS Western Isles Chairman Dr Neil Galbraith said: “It is good to hear that NHS Western Isles will soon be among the first areas in Scotland to benefit from sharing the wealth of information held by GPs.

“This will benefit patients and public generally by supporting both clinicians in delivering better care to patients as well as Public Health and planning teams in better understanding the healthcare needs of our population.

“It is gratifying also to know that both projects have taken great care in ensuring they follow robust data security measures including strict arrangements around what data may be accessed and by whom.

“This should give the necessary assurance to the public and GPs that their information is held safely and securely while it is being used to improve health and plan services in the Western Isles.”

Information on the creation of the Electronic Medical Record is available: here

Further information on the Public Health Intelligence work is also can be accessed: here