The first trust as part of the Health and Social Care Northern Ireland ‘Encompass’ programme is set to go live on 9 November 2023.
The £300m 10-year programme is to deliver a new electronic patient record for five trusts across Northern Ireland.
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust will be the first trust to go live with Encompass later this year. It is then planned for other trusts to follow during 2024/25.
The programme has to date spent £113.8m, with a plan to spend a further £163.9m over the next five years.
Roisin Coulter, chief executive, South Eastern Trust, 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“This is a momentous opportunity that will enable us to replace outdated systems.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.”
Dan West, chief digital information officer at the Department of Health, added: “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.”
In July 2022, HTN explored the Northern Ireland digital strategy for 2022-2030. The digital strategy for the next eight years shared their vision of “making lives better for the people of Northern Ireland, using digital to transform the way we deliver health, care and wellbeing services.”
The strategy includes four foundation enablers that are “critical components” of the strategy and the plan to deliver it: digital leadership and culture, digital talent, management and governance, and infrastructure and programmes. These four enablers “outline the priority areas that we will focus on building over the lifetime of this digital strategy,” it states.