After-hours medical care is set to "improve significantly" for enrolled patients on Waiheke Island.
The announcement comes from the Piritahi Hau Ora Trust and Waiheke Health Trust, which are the governing organisations for the Oneroa Accident and Medical Centre, the Ostend Medical Centre, and the Piritahi Hau Ora. They also deliver the District Nursing Services and Well Child Services.
Ostend Medical Centre manager Robyn Wilson says: "Working together as health care providers in our small community has been a focus for quite some time.
"As another step to enhance our service and strengthen this focus, both organisations have agreed to start to share electronic health records for patients who are enrolled in any of the three medical practices on Waiheke Island."
This means health care professionals directly associated with the care of a patient will be able to access a patient's clinical notes even if the patient is enrolled at another practice on the island.
It is expected the introduction of the programme will enhance clinical care by reducing delays in diagnosis, preventing medication errors and ensuring continuity of health care.
This will be especially helpful in emergency situations and after hours' presentations, Ms Wilson says.
It will also significantly improve convenience for patients and continue co-operation and communication between local medical practitioners to ensure they are able to deliver patient care in a more timely and co-ordinated manner.
Oneroa Accident and Medical Centre GP Jens-Peter Link says: "As there has been recent newspaper coverage regarding lapses in privacy around personal information stored on IT solutions, we would like to reassure our community that all steps have been undertaken to ensure the privacy and security of the health care records of our patients."
Health care information will only be shared among the health care professionals on the island directly associated with the care of that patient. The data will be hosted in a New Zealand data centre and a secure site will be used.
"This system is currently being used successfully and safely in many other areas of New Zealand.
"The data will not be available or open to the public," Dr Link says.
Patients who do not want their electronic health care records shared have the option to opt out of this solution by signing a form. This must be done before December 1.
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