The National System for sharing electronic patient records in Hong Kong

Le Mag Article | 07 Oct 2014
The establishment of a national system for sharing electronic patient records in Hong Kong, the  « eHR Sharing System », was one of the proposals made during the reform of the health system in 2008. In 2009, the Legislative Council approved an investment of 702 million Hong Kong dollars (67 million euros) for the implementation of the first phase of the programme (over five years, 2009-10 to 2013-14). In order to carry out this complex and multi-faceted project, « eHealth Record Office » was created.

The « eHealth Record (eHR) » established in Hong Kong is an electronic patient record. With the express and informed consent of the patient, the health data is stored in a national system of sharing, madeaccessible to different health professionals. The eHR includes identification and contact data (name, date of birth, address, etc.), health data (weight, height, blood type, vaccination, known medicinal allergies etc.) and medical data (diagnoses, prescriptions, blood tests results, x-rays, etc.).

For health professionals, the eHR improves the availability and transparency of information shared between care providers in the public and private sectors. This also has an impact on the effectiveness of care (by reducing, for example, the number of consultations). For patients, the eHR improves the quality of care thanks to the reduction in the frequency of medication errors, more efficient provision and use of diagnostic tests and improved monitoring. In addition, the National System for Sharing minimises errors associated with paper records and provides the ability to produce public health indicators for health policy development.

The development of the National System for sharing electronic patient records was divided into three major projects :
  1. Design and creation of the system’s basic infrastructure enabling interconnection between the different systems of electronic medical records of patients. These functions include inter alia, storage, exchange, access and retrieval of patient eHR data within and between different systems.
  2. Facilitation of  the adoption and deployment of the Clinical Management System (CMS) of the "Hospital Authority " (the body responsible for the management of public hospitals in Hong Kong) by private hospitals or clinics that will use CMS components for their own health information (HIS) systems. This will also be possible for private practitioners and other healthcare providers.
  3. Develop technical standards allowing different HIS to interact and interconnect with the basic infrastructure of the National System for Sharing; develop a platform for interoperability testing that could support a future eHR system certification. Provide technical assistance to private care providers who already have their own systems and want to connect to the National System for Sharing.
Currently, an extensive internship program aims to train and provide practical experience for young professionals or graduates in health or informatics in order to facilitate the deployment of health informatics including the National System for sharing electronic patient records.

Further information

Herebelow, 2 videos on eHR benefits and on the importance of privacy and security issues :

And the official website from Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on EHR :

Photos Credits : @eHealth Record Office. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.