Whanganui Share Health Information Between Services

01 December 2015

From December 2015, authorised Whanganui Accident & Medical clinical staff will be able to view a summary of the health information held by a patient’s GP. Whanganui DHB Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Rawlinson says that within the next six months the Whanganui Hospital will also be able to access this same information.

“Having access to additional patient records will help improve the whole system. It makes information sharing and subsequent care more timely, safe and efficient,” Dr Rawlinson says.

“Health providers often need to share information about patients. Traditionally we’ve done this on paper or by phone, but paper is too slow, and colleagues may not be available to talk in the middle of the night. Online 24-hour access to on-screen summaries from General Practice will be a great improvement in clinical safety.”

“This is just the start of electronic sharing between primary and secondary services, and the hope is that it will only broaden in the future.”

The new online access to the Shared Care Record means health providers can safely and easily obtain a summary of patient information through a secure connection. Your information is completely protected, as the security is similar to internet banking. Information can only be accessed by authorised health professionals and access is audited to maintain confidentiality.

Whanganui Regional Health Network Clinical Director and Bulls Medical Centre GP Dr Ken Young says the Shared Care Record will be beneficial to both patients and health professionals; and additionally supportive to regional patients, as health information will also be available at MidCentral after-hours clinics.

“If any patients from Whanganui regional practices need to attend after-hours in Palmerston North, that centre will have access to the patient’s General Practice information and this will be a huge support with diagnosis and treatment,” Dr Young says.

The software being utilised is a New Zealand built product called ManageMyHealth™ and has been used in other parts of the country, including the Wellington region for several years. It enables authorised health providers to easily access a summary of patient information through a secure web-browser connection. The clinical information available includes the patients’ prescribed medications, allergies, test results and diagnoses.

“It’s important to know that individual patients can ‘opt out’ if they do not want the selected information of their primary care health record shared with hospital staff, through the Shared Care Record process,” Dr Young says.

“If patients do not want their health information shared in this way they can tell their general practice, write to a freepost address or free phone 0800 SCR MMH or 0800 727 664. However, taking part in this has real benefits in terms of their care, as the new system will provide doctors and nurses with better information in settings where patients haven’t planned on presenting, such as at Emergency Departments or as casual patients in other General Practices.”

The Shared Care Record roll-out is being led by the Whanganui Regional Health Network and will be launched in the Whanganui region before the end of December 2015. So far ten General Practices have implemented a Shared Care Record, which makes up approximately 87 percent of all patients enrolled with a Whanganui practice.