Date set for patient record revolution

Date published: 09 February 2023

A major milestone in enhancing how Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland is to be delivered has been welcomed by the Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May.

Mr May announced that the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (SET) will be the first Trust in Northern Ireland to Go-Live with encompass on 9 November 2023.

Other Trusts will follow on a phased basis throughout 2024/25.

encompass is a clinically and operationally led integrated care record system and its introduction will place the HSC in Northern Ireland in the forefront of digital transformation of Health Service Delivery.

It will provide real-time, up to date information to all those involved in caring for patients, empowering them to make efficient, effective, patient-centred decisions.

Mr May said: “Since May 2020 a massive amount of pre-implementation and planning work has been undertaken which has provided us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to replace outdated systems and transform how we provide care.

“Central to this transformation is the introduction of a new, comprehensive electronic patient record (EPR) system. Our new EPR will mean that care providers will no longer need to rely on paper based, admin heavy processes.

“It will also allow patients, clients, and service users to book appointments, review test results and letters, and communicate with those providing their care using our new Patient Portal.”

The Chief Executive of the South Eastern Trust, Roisin Coulter said: “I am delighted that the South Eastern Trust will lead the way as the journey begins to transform the way we deliver health and social care in Northern Ireland.

“encompass will introduce a digital integrated care record for everyone in the region. It will be our new electronic patient record which is powered by Epic, a proven global technology.

“This is a momentous opportunity that will enable us to replace outdated systems. Having one health record will reduce the need for information to be stored across multiple, ageing systems and minimise paper records.”

“I am really excited to see how the introduction of encompass, with the new patient portal, will change the working lives of our staff and the care given to our community. Our staff are working tirelessly to implement encompass by November the 9 when the Trust plans to ‘go live’ with this revolutionary digital innovation.”

Dan West, Chief Digital Information Officer, at the Department of Health said: “The roll out of encompass across the whole of Northern Ireland will be a critical enabler of the wider transformation programme for health and social care. While it is seen as a technology programme by some – it is really about people: our staff and people in Northern Ireland.

“It will support with work on things like waiting times; actions around Mental Health; reconfiguration and rebuilding of hospital services; the development of day case elective centres; and delivery of transformed cancer services. It will help to digitise some aspects of social care and it will support community engagement and co-design.”

Dr Dermot Hughes, Senior Responsible Officer for encompass said: “This is an important moment as we announce the Go-Live date for the South Eastern Health and Social care Trust. This is the first step in implementing a new regional Electronic Patient Record system across all Trust settings in Northern Ireland. It will provide life-long information for professionals who provide care and access to information for patients. It has been developed with input from clinical professionals across Northern Ireland and builds on work from centres of excellence in the UK and Worldwide. It will ensure Healthcare in Northern Ireland is technology enabled to improve care, improve access to care and better understand patient and client experience of care.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. It is anticipated that the encompass programme will conclude in 2027/28 and transition into business as usual.  To date £113.8m has been spent, with a plan in place to spend a further £163.9m over the next five years
  2. Further information on the encompass integrated care record system is available on the encompass website.
  3. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  4. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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