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eHRSS Records Millionth Registrant: New Milestone, New Horizon

 
Millionth Registrant!

On the third anniversary of the Electronic Health Record Sharing System (eHRSS) in March 2019, the number of patient registrants had exceeded one million, marking a new milestone of the system. At this special moment, Prof. Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health (SFH), shared her views on the unique roles of eHRSS, its implementation progress and achievements, as well as the outlook for electronic health record (eHR) in Hong Kong.

 
Millionth Registrant!
It is an encouraging achievement to have over a million eHRSS registrants over just three years, considering participation in the system is voluntary

“Since eHRSS’ launch in March 2016, more than a million members of the public have joined. It is an encouraging achievement over just three years, considering participation in the system is voluntary,” Prof. Chan remarked.

At the same time, the number of healthcare providers (HCPs) registering with the system, apart from the Hospital Authority (HA), the Department of Health (DH) and the 12 private hospitals, has exceeded 1 700, with over 47 000 accounts created for healthcare professionals (HCProfs) working under these HCPs.

“We are delighted that eHRSS has been well received by the community, and will continue to devote our efforts on further developing and promoting the system. We hope that more members of the public and HCPs will join and benefit from eHRSS,” said Prof. Chan.

 
eHRSS in Support of Primary Healthcare Development
With an ageing population and prevalence of chronic disease in Hong Kong, the Government has in recent years been committed to enhancing district-based primary healthcare services through collaboration among the public and private healthcare sectors, non-governmental organisations, primary care providers and related social service agencies. Prof. Chan pointed out that the development and implementation of eHRSS has brought multifold benefits in this respect.
a big wor 'primary healthcare' in a contol room
eHRSS has brought multifold benefits in enhancing primary healthcare services through collaboration among public and private HCPs
 
A comprehensive and coordinated primary and institutional healthcare system for enhancing patients’ continuous care can be effectively underpinned by eHRSS which provides a robust and secure infrastructure for access and sharing of patients’ health records by healthcare organisations in the public and private sectors, she explained.
 
“For individuals, patients’ care needs can be fulfilled more timely, effectively and in an integrated manner by multi-disciplinary HCProf teams from different sectors. For the community, it facilitates medico-social collaboration, promotes inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary partnership, and encourages the use of more agile and innovative approaches in providing healthcare services in order to optimise the use of healthcare resources,” she elaborated.
 
4 coming DHC
eHRSS has a vital role in the upcoming DHC

Prof. Chan said the unique strengths of eHRSS are exemplified in various Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programmes of HA and DH, such as the General Outpatient Clinic PPP and the Colorectal Cancer Screening PPP. In the upcoming District Health Centre (DHC) programme, eHRSS also has a vital role to play.

Operating through district-based medico-social collaboration and PPP, DHC provides one-stop services to the public including health promotion, health assessment, chronic disease management and community rehabilitation etc. The first DHC in Kwai Tsing District is targeted to commence operation in around the third quarter of 2019.

 
“All eligible network healthcare service providers partnering with the DHC and service users are required to join eHRSS. In this way, eligible HCProfs of different service units can share service users’ health records and other clinical information through eHRSS, thus facilitating the provision of coordinated services and enhancing collaboration. Coupled with the upcoming extension of eHRSS access later this year to six types of community-based HCProfs, such as physiotherapists and pharmacists, different HCProfs can work together to provide more holistic care and integrated rehabilitation services to patients in their localities,” Prof. Chan added.
 
Future Development in Close Links with Public Health Policy
Development of the 5-year Stage Two eHRSS is now underway and is expected to be launched in phases by end 2022. Major tasks include setting up a Patient Portal and integrating Chinese medicine (CM) in the scope of data sharing.
 
Prof. Chan stressed that the Government attaches great importance to primary healthcare and enhancement of community health protection. Apart from setting up DHCs at 18 districts, other measures are introduced with the aim to encourage a paradigm shift and mindset change among the general public and the healthcare sector, raising their awareness of disease prevention and self-management.
 

“The future Patient Portal can play a part in this. Through the portal, the public can access some of their health information and stay up to date with their state, hence empowered to more actively manage their own health. We envisage that the portal will serve as the public health information “hub” in Hong Kong, helping to disseminate public health information, promote health programmes and provide health education in support of primary care and medico-social collaboration.”

Speaking of CM integration into eHRSS, Prof. Chan described it as another significant development of the system. With CM’s confirmed positioning announced in the Chief Executive’s 2018 Policy Address, the Government has been working on multiple fronts towards incorporating CM into the healthcare system in Hong Kong and promoting its development, to which eHRSS are closely linked.

seeing ehealth in mobile
Through the future Patient Portal, the public can access some of their health information and stay up to date with their state
 
Prof. Chan said, “To facilitate eHR sharing by the CM sector, we have been working on standardising CM information and terminologies. A turn-key clinical management system and related modules are also being developed to support the CM sector in computerisation and encourage their participation in eHR sharing.”
 
Regarding the actual implementation of CM data sharing, Prof. Chan said this is going to be quite challenging for eHRSS. Nonetheless, she pointed out that the 18 CM Centres of Training and Research set up under HA have been utilising an IT system developed by HA, which in a way provided valuable experience for eHRSS. The Government has also been soliciting and making reference to views from the CM sector and related stakeholders. The aim is to commence CM data sharing in the fourth year of Stage Two eHRSS. Subject to the implementation progress and stakeholders’ feedback, the Government will further study the arrangements for data sharing between CM and western medicine practitioners.
 
Vision and Challenges
With regard to the development roadmap of eHRSS, Prof. Chan emphasised that the Government will continue to explore and unleash the potential of the system to make healthcare delivery better in Hong Kong.
 
“We envisage that the progressive roll-out of DHCs in various districts, and the launch of different PPP Programmes and medico-social collaboration projects will necessitate more extensive use of eHRSS and bring greater synergy in healthcare services for the benefits of the public,” she claimed.
 
differnece elements make a piece of picture
The Government will continue to explore and unleash the potential of eHRSS to make healthcare delivery better in Hong Kong

In her final remark, Prof. Chan said, “The accomplishment of eHRSS over the past three years was much attributed to the support and participation of the community and stakeholders. Going forward, we anticipate there will be increasing expectation from patients. This will be in terms of HCPs’ participation, uploading of more eHRs, etc., which call for the continuous development and enhancement of eHRSS’ services. There will also be different challenges in the years to come. We will strive to work together with all stakeholders in order to make the most of this territory-wide eHRSS for providing quality services to the public.”

 
 
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