Despite an 11-hour time difference, collaboration is progressing well between Auckland medical software company i-health and Wirral, an English health IT administrative region, on an electronic health record project for cancer patients.
That’s the view of Peter Marsh, Wirral’s deputy director of health informatics. “We’re trying to make a portable cancer record.”
The electronic health record (EHR) system is being trialled in the Wirral administrative region, in the north-west of England near Liverpool, which encompasses 2.4 million potential cancer patients, 8000 staff, 87 servers and a mainframe, among other elements, says Marsh.
When producing the framework for the EHR — which Marsh describes as “a cradle to grave record for all agencies” — foremost among the requirements was rock-solid security. “We’re approaching the point where Joe Public can sign on to a terminal and, through biometrics or some other form of ID, look at and data held about himself.”
The ability for patients to decide who can and who can’t view certain parts of their medical history is also considered paramount and is achieved through codes, keys and skeleton keys.
“The security model we’ve built enables us to selectively switch off certain views of data if the patient says ‘I don’t want the programme to be able to do that’,” says Marsh.
The project began when Wirral bid successfully for British government funding for an EHR project for cancer patients, says Marsh, who was in Auckland earlier this month for the Health Informatics New Zealand conference. After meeting i-health at a conference 18 months ago, “we compared notes”, a relationship was struck up and work began.
Marsh says the Wirral-i-health EHR has the potential to be “the de facto standard” for the Wirral region, though under British National Health Service rules, a formal proposals tender will have to be done with other EHR providers having the right to bid. “The pilot, so far, is a research project.”
I-health market development director Niqui Keen says the company is “engaging with a number of NHS trusts” about the EHR product and talking to potential supplier partners.
Another New Zealand company that has developed an EHR is Doctor Global. Doctor Global chief executive Roger Gower says the Doctor Global EHR is the only web-based personal health record in the world that can be controlled by the patient, whereas i-health’s Wirral trial is taking the community view; EHRs also come in the clinician view format.
Gower says Doctor Global has received interest from the US and European markets.