Media Release: 30 April 2013

Health record summaries from General Practices will soon be immediately available to hospital clinicians as a new system for accessing primary care health records online is launched in Wellington, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast.

The Shared Care Record enables health providers to safely and easily access a summary record of patient information through a secure connection. Information can only be accessed by authorised health professionals and is kept safe and confidential.

“The Shared Care Record will be a huge benefit to both patients and health professionals,” says Capital and Coast DHB Chief Executive Mary Bonner. “It’s a big step forward for the region and means that when Capital and Coast patients are unwell, an up-to-date summary of their health history will be available to the hospital clinical staff that are treating them.”

Wellington GP Richard Medlicott is equally positive about the benefits for patients of the new system. “Often health providers need to have access to shared information about patients,” he says. “For example, if an elderly patient suddenly goes into hospital at night, the hospital doctors can get a more complete view of that person’s general practice records and easily see what medication they are taking and if there are any recent test results, so having access makes it much quicker and easier to treat someone.”

Capital and Coast’s Clinical Director for Corporate & Clinical Support Services, Peter Hicks, says while clinical information is already shared using paper systems, it is not always available when it is most useful. “With the Shared Care Record hospital clinicians will be able to see a patient’s information through a link in the individual patient’s on-screen record. The clinical information available will make a real difference to the quality and safety of the care delivered.”

For any patients who do not want their health information shared in this way they can free-phone 0800 727 664, write to a free-post address or tell their general practice they want to “opt out”. “However, people need to know that taking part in this shared system has real benefits in terms of their care and will provide doctors and nurses with better information in settings where patients haven’t planned on presenting, such as emergency departments,” says Richard Medlicott.

Capital and Coast and the Primary Health Organisations, including Compass Health who have managed the project, see the Shared Care Record as a significant improvement for patient care.

The system is being launched across Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti from July 2013. It is the third planned roll out in conjunction with other local PHOs within the Wairarapa and MidCentral health systems in the past 12 months.