As Dr Jennifer Westrup writes for Irish Pharmacist in this issue, we are moving — albeit at ketchup-slow pace — towards personalised care in Ireland, including the development of electronic health records (EHR). The need for EHRs has long been acknowledged by the HSE, as well as anybody providing healthcare who wants to do so based on an accurate case history. How many times have you face-palmed when a patient does not remember the name of the medication they are taking, or what care they have received?
Full implementation of EHRs should be a priority. The fact that we are lagging behind much of the developed world on EHRs is curious. It’s a topic I will return to in greater depth in a future issue, but the dogs on the street know that the full implementation of an EHR in Ireland would save patients and their healthcare providers untold misery from fragmented care. So why has it not been implemented? There seems to be no reasonable explanation to this — EHRs will save the system money in the longer term — unless there are inter-disciplinary politics involved. Perhaps that’s a cynical, or even churlish, point to raise, but this is Ireland, after all. Remember the roll-out of the flu vaccine to pharmacies?