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NIECR home

Information for better care

No matter where you are being treated or cared for in the HSC, your information should be available, as needed, by those looking after you.

Health and Social Care (HSC) services are implementing the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR) system to help improve how we look after you.

NIECR is a record system for all of Northern Ireland that will pull together key details about your care from existing HSC systems and make them available to authorized staff in your care team wherever you are being looked after, providing your history at a glance.

This will help us make sure your care is

  • Safer
  • Faster
  • Better

What is ‘NIECR’?

An Electronic Care Record (ECR) is a tool to improve the quality and safety of patient and service user care. Each health and social care organisation that you have contact with keeps a record about you. The Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR) is being introduced to bring together key information from your health and social care records from throughout Northern Ireland in a single, secure computer system. This means that wherever you go in Northern Ireland for health or social care services, the doctors and nurses looking after you will have some information about you, for example:

  • recent test results, which may mean that you don’t have blood tests or x-rays repeated
  • any allergies that have been recorded in other hospitals or your GP Practice to avoid giving you medicines that you may have a bad reaction to
    • if you are having treatment in another hospital, which may allow the care teams looking after you to work better together
    • if you have a home help service, which will help the care team plan for you going home if you’ve had a stay in hospital

NIECR will sit on top of the current HSC information systems to give health and social care professionals a single window into the key information that a patient expects the different professionals involved in their care to have about them.

The NIECR will contain information from existing electronic record systems from hospitals and clinics throughout Northern Ireland. This will include: lab tests, x-rays, appointments and discharge letters.

Details about what medicine your GP has prescribed for you and any allergies that your GP has noted will also be included in the NIECR, unless you have opted out of sharing this information electronically in the past.

Transforming Your Care, HSC, 2012

"The current duplication along with poor patient records slows down the system and causes frustration to the individual when forced to continually relay their particular situation and treatment. A solution to this would be the creation of a single Electronic Care Record (ECR) which follows the individual through different care settings and Trust boundaries."

There are increasing pressures on the HSC services, with rising activity, falling budgets creating a need to do much more for much less. By making sure that information is available wherever the patients and those treating them require it, NIECR will help ensure more time, resource and effort can be put where it is needed most – caring for patients and service users.

Consultant, Ulster Hospital

"I’ve been using the Proof of Concept system for more than 2 years now and it’s transformed how we run our clinics and wards. The ECR makes our job of providing the best care we can to patients so much easier, and has cut down so much on the wasted time and effort that we were spending chasing round for the bits of information we need to safely treat our patients."

GP, Holywood

"My patients often come to see me after they’ve had a stay in hospital – with the ECR I have all the information about what’s happened to them at my fingertips and don’t have to wait for the hospital discharge letter before I can give the patient the explanations, reassurance or treatment that they have come for."

Patient

"It’s great being able to see my records on Dr Harper’s computer when I come up for clinics – I have to see a few different doctors and now they all can see what’s going on with me, and I’m not having to run around getting results on paper from my GP or sitting for hours at clinics because my notes are still with the last doctor I was seeing."

Patient Client Council

"The Patient and Client Council has been highlighting for some time the importance of care decisions being made based on up to date information.”

"People have told us they can't understand why the right information isn't available to those making decisions about their care, in the right place at the right time."

"The Patient and Client Council welcomes this sensible development which reflects what people want and expect. It will avoid the need for people to tell their story many times to health care staff."

Nurse, South Eastern Trust

"This makes the patient journey as seamless as possible"