Western Norway Regional Health Authority in one DIPS joint database
On 9 March 2015, the Western Norway Regional Health Authority became the first regional health authority in Norway to have one joint patient records system.
At 7.30 on 9 March, the consolidation of the DIPS databases in all the four health trusts in the region was completed. The Helse Stavanger health trust was the last of the health trusts to join the joint database. The databases of the three health trusts Helse Bergen HF, Helse Førde HF and Helse Fonna HF have previously been merged.
Erik M Hansen, head of the Western Norway Regional health Authority's ICT department.
A dedicated consolidation process has been carried out over several years in a collaboration between the health trusts, the Western Norway Regional Health Authority's ICT department and DIPS ASA. The Western Norway Regional Health Authority has thereby completed the first important step towards the goal adopted by the Norwegian parliament, the Storting: 'One inhabitant – one patient record'.
'I'm proud that we have reached this important milestone, and that we have achieved our goal so close to the date when the new Patient Records Act will enter into force,' says Erik M Hansen, head of the Western Norway Regional health Authority's ICT department.
'Our experience of the process shows that this requires hard, systematic and thorough work. All the details have to be right. Everything has to be carefully tested. The collaboration between involved personnel from the health trusts, the ICT department and DIPS has to function as intended. And it certainly has in this case,' says the head of the ICT department.
Tor Arne Viksjø, CEO of DIPS ASA, has the following to say about the project: 'The Western Norway Regional Health Authority has worked determinedly since 2007 to consolidate systems and establish a regional standard for DIPS. With a joint database like the one we have now established, it is possible to realise gains both in relation to cooperation across the health trusts in the region and in relation to the patients' access through the Western Norway Patient system. It has been a long and demanding process to get to where we are now, but reaching this milestone is a major event, both for our customers and for us. I am really proud of the effort put in by our customer's employees and by DIPS's own personnel. We have had good and close cooperation all the way.'
Access across health trusts
Harald Kada, the project manager for EPR consolidation, says that the next step is to enable access across the health trusts in the Western Norway Regional Health Authority. 'In practice, what we are talking about is "One Western Norwegian – one patient record". This will not be achieved until agreements are in place between the health trusts, and some other work is also required, for example as regards user roles in DIPS. This work is currently under way.
'We are working systematically, in a gradual and controlled manner, towards sharing more information and enabling access across health trusts. This is in order to ensure that health personnel who provide health care have access to relevant and necessary information about their patients' health,' says Erik M Hansen.
He believes that this helps to improve both patient safety and information security compared with how information is shared at present.
Facts about the Western Norway Regional Health Authority database
- The total capacity of the disc is 34 TB. At present, 29 TB is utilised.
- As of today, there are 101 million patient record documents in the database (that includes everything that can be defined as part of a patient record, i.e. appointment letters, notes, nursing documentation, discharge summaries etc.).
- Patient record documents relating to a total of 1,345,422 unique individuals are registered in the database.