Ministry of Health

Primary/Secondary Information Integration

A significant amount of effort has been expended worldwide on achieving integration of medical information within hospital-based systems, predominantly using technologies such as HL7 standards and integration engines (such as “Concerto”).  Hospitals that are prepared to make the appropriate investment can ensure that all clinicians within their domain have access to common information about their patients regardless of the operational system used to manage the particular service.

Yet there are few examples, if any, where this level of integration and interoperability has been achieved between primary and secondary care.  Although electronic referrals and discharge summaries are increasingly common, most examples of information “integration” are of one-way information transfer associated with the transfer of medical care from one provider to another, rather than a true sense of shared care where health providers care for the patient using a common information base.

For the Ministry of Health, I provided a consulting report on the opportunities, benefits, barriers, issues, and risks of achieving true integration of information between primary and secondary care, informed by consultation with a wide range of stakeholders from primary and secondary care.