The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide €225 million to support the roll-out of Ireland’s transformational eHealth programme. The new nationwide electronic health and information programme is expected to improve delivery of health services for the entire population of Ireland over the next decade.
The 20 year European Investment Bank loan was signed in Dublin by Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President and Conor O'Kelly, Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).
Pictured: Director General of the HSE John Connaghan, European Investment Bank Vice President Andrew McDowell and Minister of Health Simon Harris TD
Minister for Health Simon Harris TD said: "The significant support from the European Investment Bank confirmed today marks a key step in delivering the benefits of eHealth for the people of this country and creating a modern patient-centred health service. I would also like to acknowledge the important role played by the NTMA in facilitating this loan. The roll-out of eHealth, which was a key recommendation of Sláintecare, will enable the reconfiguration of services across Acute, Community and Primary Care sectors and will provide the opportunity to deliver a more integrated service to patients, irrespective of where the patient may be.”
HSE Director General John Connaghan said: “This is a most welcome development. It will bring about real change in terms of delivering the benefits of ehealth for the people of this country.”
Chief Information Officer for the Health Service Executive and ICS Fellow, Professor Martin Curley said: “We welcome the significant support announced by the EIB to support the roll-out of Ireland’s transformational eHealth programme. Ireland has embraced digital technology with confidence and we are starting to experience the benefits it can deliver for the health and well-being of each and every one of us.
‘‘The Sláintecare report calls for the continued strong support of the eHealth strategy – particularly ensuring the necessary funding for the timely rollout of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. EHR is a comprehensive solution that supports the creation and sharing of key patient information. It is a core capability required for the future delivery of healthcare. It will move us from a position where patient records and key information is locked in a paper format and within specific organisations, to an environment where digital patient records are shared securely across care settings with appropriate consent.
E-health is helping healthcare professionals save time and save lives. It’s also enabling patients, and the people who use our services, to experience better care. Our vision is to create a patient-centred, digitally integrated healthcare system and as we move towards this we are starting to see more and more benefits. The investment announced today will play a significant part in delivering this vision.”
“Innovation and use of new technology empowers patients, improves health and makes better use of limited resources. This is the first eHealth project ever supported by the European Investment Bank and we are pleased to provide EUR 225 million, a very significant contribution towards the overall cost, to support Ireland’s eHealth programme. This new engagement demonstrates the EIB’s firm commitment to supporting long-term health investment in Ireland. This follows recent support for health investment at the National Children’s Hospital, Primary Care Centres, the Royal College of Surgeons, Irish universities and medical research by world class Irish companies.” said Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President.
Digitalisation of the Irish health sector will include introduction of Individual Health Identifier numbers for every patient in the country, establishment of an Electronic Health Record system for acute and community care and development of a National Shared Record system accessible by all health care providers.
The eHealth programme will be implemented by the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and eHealth Ireland. The NTMA is responsible for borrowing on behalf of the Irish Government and this is the ninth EIB loan to the NTMA since 2012.