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Integrating and Advancing Community Healthcare through eHRSS

 
Ms Yvonne Lo & Ms Jenny Choi

St James’ Settlement (SJS) has a long history of providing community care and support services in Hong Kong. When it comes to enhancing nursing and healthcare services to those in need, SJS considers that the Electronic Health Record Sharing System (eHRSS) has a lot to offer.

Ms Yvonne Lo & Ms Jenny Choi
Senior Managers, Continuing Care, St James’ Settlement
 

Community healthcare service is among the broad spectrum of services currently provided by SJS, a charitable non-governmental organisation in Hong Kong with a history of close to 70 years.

From SJS’ experience, Ms Lo and Ms Choi recognised the importance of electronic health records (eHRs) to the provision of healthcare services.

As a long-time participant of the Hospital Authority (HA)’s Public-Private Interface – Electronic Patient Record Pilot Project, SJS joined eHRSS shortly after its launch in 2016. Currently 15 of its healthcare service units are using eHRSS. Four of them are rehabilitation services units serving people with disabilities, while the others are related to continuing care for the elderly in which Ms Lo and Ms Choi are directly involved.
community care and support services for close to 70 years
SJS has been providing community care and support services in Hong Kong for close to 70 years
 
Ms Lo and Ms Choi explained these are the units that require the collaborative efforts of different healthcare professionals (HCProfs), such as nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, in delivering services to their users.
 
“Right now access to eHRSS is available mainly to our nurses. We hope that more of our HCProfs can access the system soon, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists,” said Ms Choi, referring to the Government’s plan to enable eHRSS access for more HCProf groups in the community at later stage.
 
“Our three philanthropic community pharmacies are all prepared to join the list of service units using the system,’ echoed Ms Lo.
 
Accurate Information for Person-Centred Care
Both Ms Lo and Ms Choi agreed that as different service units get more familiar with using eHRSS, the system has been making an increasingly prominent impact on SJS’ services. At the same time, response from colleagues has been positive.
 
providing person-centred care
eHRSS has been making an increasingly prominent impact on SJS' services in providing person-centred care

“In the past, medical histories and information of our elderly users, such as treatment received, examinations conducted, medication records and booked appointments, largely came from the users themselves or their family members, but it’s all up to how much they could remember and understand,” said Ms Lo.

“Through eHRSS, we can now obtain this information from HA and other participating healthcare providers (HCPs), facilitating us to work out better care plan to meet individual needs,” added Ms Lo.

“Information about medications, for instance, is important, as we have to ensure our elders take their medicine correctly, and to adjust the healthcare and support services for them accordingly in case of any change.”

 
Comprehensive Information for Integrated Care

As delivery of integrated care is central to its continuing care strategy, SJS emphasises inter-disciplinary knowledge under a multi-disciplinary working model in providing services. In home care, for example, the teams comprise HCProfs of different disciplines.

“We provide a full range of support services such as nursing care, personal care, home safety improvement and in-home rehabilitation,” Ms Choi explained. “Health records of service users can be obtained from the one-stop platform of eHRSS for our teams to formulate comprehensive care plans.”
Information and data inputing
 
“Nurses aside, we have occupational therapists taking care of home modifications or cognitive training for elders, as well as physiotherapists helping them in post-injury rehabilitation or to improve their physical activity. eHRs such as diagnostic findings will certainly enhance the delivery of continuous healthcare in the community and facilitate medical-social collaboration.”
 
two-way communication between 2 people
SJS could leverage eHRSS to further improve its services with two-way communication between public and private HCPs
Further eHRSS Adoption

With two-way communication between public and private HCPs made possible through eHRSS, Ms Choi believes that in future, SJS could leverage the system to further enhance its services.

“In the longer run, we may contribute by sharing information such as referral advice and health-related reference notes if technically feasible,” said Ms Choi.

Ms Lo supplemented, “For instance, if we observe that some elders may have emotional problems such as depression, our nurses can document and upload their observations to eHRSS for doctors’ reference. Another area of possible contribution is related to services for children with special education needs, in which our occupational therapists could give their professional advice through eHRSS for reference.”
 
Ms Choi and Ms Lo said SJS also supports the sharing of radiological images and setting up of a Patient Portal under Stage Two Development of eHRSS.
 
Ms Choi said, “at this moment, there are only written reports of radiological examinations. It will help if our physiotherapists can view the relevant imaging records to get a clearer picture of patients’ conditions when drawing up post-discharge treatment plans.”
 
Ms Lo said that having a portal for patients to access their own records, and input basic and simple health vitals can promote self-care. “Many elders nowadays are smart and can master mobile devices and applications easily. Still, it is important for the portal or application to be user-friendly.”
 
Last but not least, Ms Lo highlighted the importance of data security and privacy protection. “Now it is working quite well as patients will receive notifications when their records have been accessed. Yet with more and more records shared via eHRSS, protection of personal data privacy, information confidentiality and system security should be strengthened continuously.”
 
 
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