12 months ago at the inaugural eHealthSummit in Croke Park in Dublin, I was asked to speak at the Locknote panel on the challenges for eHealth and the Implementation of the eHealth Strategy in the next 12 months. Top of my wish list for enabling the eHealth Strategy was the implementation and availability of the IHI and IHPI for use in Ireland. I outlined that it was the single biggest barrier to enabling the eHealth strategy to be fully realised. I was delighted to sit as part of the attendees at this year’s conference to hear that the IHI system had gone live and that the HSE had a seeded database of individual health identifiers for every patient in Ireland.

On reflection on the last 12 months since the first eHealthSummit was held, I believe that a phenomenal amount of progress has been made in the area of eHealth in Ireland. The establishment of eHealth Ireland along with the publishing of the Knowledge and Information Plan giving us a roadmap for the next 5 years is exactly the type of progress that I felt was needed in order for us to achieve the goals of the eHealth Strategy. There is real enthusiasm and a renewed energy in the industry as a result of the transformation that is happening in the HSE. There is significantly more involvement from industry and academia in the plans for the future. There were several examples at this year’s conference of the really good work being done both in Ireland and other European countries such as Scotland, Finland. The implementation of the EHR in Temple Street University Hospital along with the National Rollout of electronic Referrals across Ireland along with the availability of dates for when all hospitals will go live with electronic referrals before March of 2016 show that real progress is being made.

There was much discussion from the floor and observations from clinicans that there is a real and practical need to enabling the sharing of information across the Health service and to utilise what’s currently available both within the Health service and from industry partners. It was acknowledge by Ciaran Ryan of the ICGP that GP’s have very good systems and electronic patient records in their practice and that they would love to see further sharing of and access to information across the Healthcare industry in Ireland. The inclusion of the National Healthlink Project as part of the future IT Architecture vision in the Knowledge and Information plan shows a real commitment on behalf of eHealth Ireland not to rip and replace systems that are performing very beneficial services but to utilise and expand them to meet the future needs.

Reflecting on the years progress both from the standpoint of the National Healthlink Project and from the eHealth industry in Ireland, I feel we are positioned in a much stronger place with some of the key enablers now in place for significant movement in the right direction in the coming year. I look forward with renewed enthusiasm to reflecting on even more progress between now and eHealthSummit16 as part of the Senior Management Team of the Office of the Chief Information Officer as I begin my journey on enabling the Access to Information function as outlined in the Knowledge and Information Plan.

I hope that Dougie Beaton, and the rest of this years Locknote panel get their “Dear Santa’s wish list” and can reflect on similar progress in the next 12 months.