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April 24, 2014

Electronic palliative care system for GPs may be ‘within a year’

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Dr Paul Gregan, Consultant in Palliative Medicine

By Pat Kelly. The Chairperson of the Primary Palliative Care National Steering Group is working on an electronic palliative care database system for GPs and hopes to pilot the scheme by as early as 2013.

Dr Paul Gregan, a Consultant in Palliative Medicine and a GP based in Deansgrange, Dublin, is working with colleagues to fast-track the delivery of the system, which would allow GPs to easily and effectively share palliative care information with out-of-hours staff. The system would mirror a similar set-up in Scotland utilised by approximately one-third of GPs there.

“There’s a tool called an Electronic Palliative Care Summary and in other countries, GPs would have a summary sheet included in their software, most of which is pre-populated by the computer,” Dr Gregan told IMT. “The GP fills out the rest with relevant, up-to-date information on an individual patient who they might be worried about, for example if they were finishing up on a Friday evening or going away somewhere.”

The information would then be emailed to an after-hours service in the event they were required to attend a palliative care patient at short notice, he explained.

The initiative forms part of the efforts of the Primary Palliative Care programme, established by the Irish Hospice Foundation, the HSE and the ICGP to aid GPs in managing patients with life-limiting conditions.

  • See next week’s IMT for feature.

pat.kelly@imt.ie