Durban – South Africa’s first industry-wide Health Information Exchange (HIE) was launched yesterday.
The HIE will enable speedy and secure electronic transfer of information between hospitals, medical schemes/insurers and other health service providers.
It was built on an internationally recognised technology platform, InterSystems HealthShare.
HIEs provide patient clinical information, saving precious time for clinicians, and reducing medical errors.
The history-making programme is the vision of the country’s six leading hospital groups and medical scheme administrators.
It was created to allow for collaboration within the private health-care sector.
In this team effort, clinical data and information will be shared to improve patient care and efficiencies in the health sector.
The HIE conforms to both local and international data privacy regulations, such as ISO 27001/2770 and the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia).
The chief executive of CareConnect, Dr Rolan Christian, said the system was a necessary innovation that would support a co-ordinated health system through a reliable, secure and unified digital platform.
“The CareConnect HIE will allow clinicians to access up-to-date, real-time, consolidated clinical information about their patient’s journey across the health-care ecosystem, thereby improving the speed, quality and co-ordination of care,” he said.
Since coming online in late 2021, more than 3.2 million patients have given consent to share their data with the HIE.
From October last year, these patients have created more than 27 million transactions of clinical data that are available on the system.
According to the chairperson of CareConnect’s board of directors, Matthew Prior, greater efficiency could be achieved through providing clinicians with relevant and meaningful patient information when and where they need it.
“For patients, access to the HIE can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation or when travelling, as the treating doctor will be able to access critical, up-to-date health information in real time,” said Dr Christian.
Every person who participates in the HIE signs data privacy agreements that govern the purposes for which information can be used.