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Legislators Take a Closer Look at eHRSS’ Benefits for the Elderly

 
Legislators Take a Closer Look at eHRSS’ Benefits for the Elderly

Members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Panel on Health Services were introduced to the use and benefits of the Electronic Health Record Sharing System (eHRSS) at a recent visit to the Caritas Harold H.W. Lee Care & Attention Home (Caritas HL Home).

 
A recent visit to Caritas HL Home for LegCo Panel on Health Services
A recent visit to Caritas HL Home for LegCo Panel on Health Services
 
During their visit on 21 February 2017, Chairman of the Panel, Prof Hon Joseph Lee Kok-long; Deputy Chairman of the Panel, Dr Hon Pierre Chan; and other panel members including Hon Paul Tse Wai-chun, Hon Charles Peter Mok, Dr Hon Elizabeth Quat and Hon Yung Hoi-yan were briefed about the operations of eHRSS and how the system helps elderly patients and their families.
 
Elderly Homes: an eHRSS Recruitment Target
 

In greeting the LegCo Members, Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Health), Mr Patrick Nip, remarked that since the launch of eHRSS in March 2016, the response of the community had been encouraging.

“We are delighted to see that, in less than a year, eHRSS has been participated by nearly 400,000 citizens and over 1,100 healthcare providers (HCPs). As the implementation of eHRSS will particularly benefit our senior citizens, the elderly service sector has been one of our main recruitment target groups,” he said.

Members were briefed about the use of eHRSS in the Caritas HL Home
Members were briefed about the use of eHRSS in the Caritas HL Home
 
Sharing Mr Nip’s view, Ms Maggie Chan, Director of Social Work Services Division of the Caritas – Hong Kong (the Caritas), said the Caritas joined eHRSS in no time after its launch in 2016, envisaging that the system could complement and enhance their provision of quality care service to elderly users. So far, over 10 elderly homes/ centres and hundreds of elderly under their service have registered with the system.
 
One of their elderly homes, the Caritas HL Home, has 100% eHRSS participation with over 270 elderly residents. Ms Doris Yu, Superintendent of the Caritas HL Home, said, “We have received enquiries from their families even before the system was made available here.”
 
Use and Benefits of eHRSS
 
To enable LegCo Members to better understand the use and operations of eHRSS, a demonstration was arranged to show the simple registration procedure, security features for protecting patients’ privacy, and how to use the system to improve the delivery of healthcare service during medical consultation.
 
LegCo Members were also given first-hand accounts on the advantages of eHRSS at the experience sharing session during the visit. Participants of the sharing session included resident and family representatives of the Caritas HL Home, representatives of other patient groups and private practitioner.
 
Ms Lam, a patient who has undergone renal transplant in the Hospital Authority (HA), said that eHRSS had given her more flexibility and put her mind at ease when receiving healthcare service. “I used to go to HA hospitals only, even for illnesses minor as flu because the doctors there would know what anti-rejection drugs I am taking when making prescription. After joining eHRSS, I can choose from a range of private doctors that have participated in the system instead of queuing at public hospitals for consultation,” said Ms Lam.
 

Joining eHRSS is simple and convenient, participants shared with LegCo Members. Dr Leung, a former participant of HA’s Public-Private Interface – Electronic Patient Record Sharing Pilot Project, said he easily migrated to eHRSS in just a few simple steps. He was echoed by Ms Chan, an 80-year old resident of the Caritas HL Home who joined the system under the registration campaign for elderly homes. As Ms Chan put it, “The registration process is simple and quick, and the benefits of joining are so obvious. From now on, I need not memorise anything when visiting doctors”.

Demonatration showing the simple registration procedure
Demonatration showing the simple registration procedure, security features and system benefits
 
The benefits of eHRSS are no less for carers than patients. Ms Leung, whose mother is a dementia patient residing at the Caritas HL Home, said the system offered great help to patients as well as their families. One example is the availability of her mother’s medication records that can be accessed by doctors participating in the system, without which Ms Leung needs to compile, maintain and update by herself. eHRSS provides a platform that help alleviate the pressure of both patients and their families, in a humanised way.
 

Dr CP Wong, a geriatric specialist, shared the perspectives of a private practitioner about eHRSS. He remarked that eHRSS had provided doctors with more comprehensive and precise information to facilitate in time and accurate diagnoses. While the benefits of eHRSS may not be easily quantified, Dr Wong believes its value to patients is immeasurable. “In fact, some patients come to my clinic as they know I have joined eHRSS and can access their past medical records. With more and more citizens participating in the system, doctors in the private sector will be incentivized to join,” said Dr Wong.

shared their experience and views about eHRSS
Representatives of the Caritas HL Home, patient groups and private practitioner shared their experience and views about eHRSS
 
Further Development of Electronic Health Record (eHR)
 
As the Government is planning Stage 2 development of eHRSS, participants also shared their views and expectations with LegCo Members on eHR’s further development. Radiological image sharing is one of the areas desired by both patient and healthcare professional representatives. The representatives also look forward to the enhancement of eHRSS by adding elements for patients to view and keep track of their own health data. Recognising the benefits of eHRSS, LegCo Members and representatives alike suggested wider publicity and promotion of eHRSS be conducted.
 
LegCo Members had a tour at the Caritas HL home
Before concluding the visit, LegCo Members had a tour at the Caritas HL home to observe its major facilities, and took the opportunity to interact with staff and the elderly
 
Stage 2 eHRSS


The Government has submitted the Stage 2 eHR development proposal to the Panel on Health Services in January 2017, and Members have indicated their support to the proposal. On 25 March 2017, the Finance Committee of LegCo approved the funding of $422 million for implementing the Stage 2 eHR programme.

 
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