HISTORY was made at the maternity unit in Portlaoise Hospital on Tuesday 24 January, when a new healthcare initiative was launched.
Along with others hospitals around the country, Portlaoise became the first in the world to adopt a single electronic health-record system (EHR) for maternity hospitals.
The HSE and members of the National Project Team visited Portlaoise hospital with a 24-hour ‘digital challenge’ to mark the launch of Ireland’s ground-breaking maternal and newborn clinical management system (MN-CMS).
As part of healthcare initiative’s introduction, each of the country’s 19 maternity hospitals has identified a ‘digital gap’ to be remedied ahead of the implementation of digital records.
Technical issues, including wi-fi and network capability, the provision of laptop carts, printers and scanners, and resources or digital training for staff were addressed within 24-hours hospital visit.
HSE chief information officer Richard Corbridge said: “Our 24-hour digital challenge is to illustrate the significance of the maternal and newborn clinical management system. Essentially, that everything possible is being done in our maternity hospitals to get them ready for electronic health records − one of the largest and most important ICT projects ever undertaken in Irish healthcare.”
Ireland’s MN-CMS promises automated recording and integrated care, which means that everyone involved in the care of mothers and babies in Irish maternity units have instant access to all current clinical details and records.
Mr Corbridge said: “Up to now, in many hospitals in Ireland, babies did not get health records but were recorded on their mother’s paper records. Creating electronic health records for babies when they are born will deliver patient-centred care, tracking progress, alerting to risk and allowing for electronic prescribing and discharge notifications for general practices.
“This is a first step to the delivery of an electronic health record for everyone and there is no better place to start this journey than in the maternity service of Ireland,” said Mr Corbridge.