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Irish healthcare system must now move away from 'pen and paper' records - SF

A new report from HIQA is warning the country needs an updated computerised system to store patients’ information.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.55 26 Oct 2021


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Irish healthcare system must n...

Irish healthcare system must now move away from 'pen and paper' records - SF

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.55 26 Oct 2021


Share this article


Ireland’s healthcare system needs to get away from “pen and paper” records, according to Sinn Féin.

It follows a new report from HIQA which is warning the country needs an updated digital system to store patients’ information.

Unlike many other countries, Ireland doesn’t have one single system to store patients' medical information.

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HIQA says valuable data - whether it’s about blood tests, GP visits or hospital stays - is currently managed across different systems.

They say the recent HSE cyberattack also forced many medical professions to return to paper records, leading to “increased waiting lists and rescheduled appointments”.

As a result, they’re calling for the urgent reform of the system, with enhanced IT security.

HIQA says Ireland’s healthcare will remain “inefficient and ineffective” without the changes.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, HIQA's Rachel Flynn explained: "GPs tend to have computer systems within their surgery - but these systems don't talk to other systems within the healthcare system.

"The vision is to have an integrated healthcare system where healthcare professionals can access information about the patients they treat."

Sinn Fein’s Health Spokesperson David Cullinane told Newstalk that Ireland simply needs to get with the times.

He said: “We need to get away from the pen and the paper, and the paper records when it comes to patients’ medical information.

“There’s always the chance of a cyberattack, but every organisation faces that threat - that’s why we need enhanced cybersecurity.

“The solution to being afraid of a cyberattack is not to act in the dark ages."

He added that a system of digitised records makes "perfect sense in a modern world".

Reporting by Stephanie Rohan and Stephen McNeice
Main image: David Cullinane (Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie) and medical files (BAE Inc / Alamy Stock Photo)

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