The new system will also provide information that will enable the public to hold the NHS to account and ensure that any unacceptable standards of care are identified as quickly as possible. Information will help to:
find more effective ways of preventing, treating and managing illnesses guide local decisions about changes that are needed to respond to the needs of local patients support public health by anticipating risks of particular diseases and conditions, and help us to take action to prevent problems improve the public’s understanding of the outcomes of care, giving them confidence in health and care services guide decisions about how to manage NHS resources so that they can best support the treatment and management of illness for the benefit of patients
It shares information about patients sourced from different parts of the health service. In this way, a complete picture can be garnered about a particular patient and the best plan drawn for the individual patient. There will not be any identifiers apart from the NHS number, date of birth, post code and gender.
With diverse health services available in Malaysia, from public healthcare facilities to private enterprises, it may be necessary to draw up such an infrastructure. Doctors can attest to the fact that patient care is compromised on many occasions when patients seek treatment from different hospitals or clinics. Continuity of care is often fractured as a result. Referral letters are usually not complete or may not reflect accurately the medical history, especially if lengthy.
Using digital technology in analysing the patient will also give attending doctors valuable information at the point of care. This is especially important in areas where development is fast paced. Practice guidelines can be suggested and better adhered to. It is impossible these days to keep pace will developments in every field of medicine. Incorporating important information based on the individual patient and allowing suggestions as to the care that should be accorded, will likely be the future of patient care.
Malaysia must follow suit if we are to remain at the forefront of patient care. It will require government resolve and investment in a robust digital infrastructure. As it is, Health Informatics is now part of most medical curriculums, highlighting a move to this digital environment.
Can we keep pace?