DATE: February 23, 2012
SUBJECT: Electronic sharing of patient records will help reduce clinical errors
Canterbury clinicians are confident a new system for sharing electronic patient records will help reduce clinical errors by ensuring complete and accurate information is available at the point of care.
According to the serious and sentinel events report published by the Health Quality & Safety Commission late last week, of 377 avoidable adverse events reported in New Zealand’s public hospitals during 2010/2011, 25 were medication errors and108 were clinical management incidents.
CDHB chief medical officer Dr Millar says typically the clinical management incidents captured by the serous and sentinel events report involve delays in responding to a patient’s changing condition, poor communication between health professionals, and delayed diagnoses.
“The purpose of eSCRV is to enable clearer communication and quicker diagnoses,” Dr Millar says.
In the aftermath of the February 22 earthquake, patients were not always being seen by their usual family clinician, as many GP practices and pharmacies were closed and community nursing services severely disrupted, he says.
“Patients were also coming in to the Emergency Department with no referral and no quick way to check patient history. That experience was a sharp reminder of the importance of having timely and accurate information at the point of care. Since then the Canterbury District Health Board has been working with Pegasus Health, Orion Health and clinicians to develop a secure data sharing system,” Dr Millar says.
Shared Care Record View (eSCRV) has been designed to enable clinicians to share key patient information.
“This will lead to faster, better informed and therefore safer decisions about patient care. In the near future, a patient could find themselves in the Emergency Department and clinicians will be able to see relevant medical history, such as details of recent or chronic illnesses, operations and community prescriptions. Knowing about these things will help health professionals make the right decisions for their patients,” he says.
“There is no acceptable number of serious or sentinel adverse events. Together with CDHB’s Falls Prevention programme, infection prevention and control measures, shared care through eSCRV will make an important contribution to preventing the preventable and bring us closer to zero harm to people in our care.”
• Late last year GPs, pharmacists and Nurse Maude community piloted eSCRV and their feedback has helped ensure the system works well for clinicians and in the best interests of their patients. Early in April 2012 it will become available to a wider group (approx 25%) of clinicians. By July this year, it will be available to authorised health professionals.
• Only authorised health professionals in Canterbury will be able to access patient information through eSCRV, which will remain safe and confidential. As a built-in safeguard, all access to information by authorised users is monitored and audited to ensure it is appropriate and justified.
• People who do not want their health information shared in this way can easily ’opt off’ the system by telling their GP, pharmacist, hospital doctor or community nurse treating them, calling freephone 0508 837 872 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org CDHB encourages people with concerns to talk to a health professional they know well such as their GP, before making a decision.