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Meeting 2: eHealth

The second Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) for the Moving Forward Together (MFT) Programme took place on Wednesday the 13th of December. The Group of 15 patient, service user and carer representatives heard a presentation about the key role eHealth and Digital services will have in transforming the delivery of healthcare and social care services.

The presentation was delivered by; Dr Andrew Winter,  a Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine and the Joint Clinical Lead for e-Health; Dr Keith Mercer - a practicing GP in Glasgow’s East End and an EHealth Advisor; and Denise Brown the Head of eHealth Strategy and  Programmes for the Health Board. They outlined the current situation in Glasgow and Clyde and what they future might hold and how this will help deliver safer, more effective person centred care.

This included the benefits of a single patient management system in all hospitals, paperless general practice, electronic referrals and letters, laboratory, pharmacy and other systems and how these are tied to a unique patient identification number. They described how these can be used to improve care, but stated that more could be done to improve this through wider integration and sharing of appropriate information across primary, secondary and social care services. It was highlighted that people have an opportunity to influence much of what happens locally and across Scotland by commenting on the Digital Health and Social Care Strategy.  

They illustrated a future were technology could transform the delivery of services and be used to; support people being able to live more independently at home; provide virtual clinics via video to prevent people having to travel unnecessarily; and how people might be able to access, track and have more control their own care through the use of a patient portal. These positive digital solutions were also balanced with the challenges of making changes in complex working system, that data needs making sense of to be made useful and the cost of the resources to keep it all working.

Throughout the presentation the patient, service user and carer representatives asked questions and talked about a range of subjects. They agreed that a single patient record shared across organisations and ideally accessed by individuals themselves could streamline care. However, they expressed concern that only certain staff should have access to certain information, discussed how some conditions are stigmatised and ultimately people need to make an informed choice that fits their needs.

They welcomed the future use of technology to improve safety, provide better access and support independence and that these are more fitting with how society in general accesses other services. And although all agreed that these types’ of health advancements were fantastic ideas they also said that they shouldn’t be a replacement for face to face interaction and the personalised, trusting relationships required to manage complex health and social care. They also recognised the important role voluntary organisations can play in supporting people but acknowledged that more work needs done on internal systems before these are considered.

The presentations and a more detailed commentary of the meeting can be accessed in the commentaries section.