Published Tuesday, 29 May 2012
The new system should improve patients' experiences of the health service. (© UTV)
The system aims to cut down on the time spent searching for appropriate records and allow health workers to spend more time on actually treating patients.
"It has the potential to vastly improve the quality, speed, safety and clinical outcomes for patients and service users," Edwin Poots said, during a visit to the Ulster Hospital on Tuesday.
Confidentiality and security of patient information remain a key priority across and the ECR will have stringent safeguards in place to ensure the continued protection of patient information.
Health Minister Edwin Poots
A full roll-out of the system will go ahead, following a successful pilot involving 9,000 patients at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, Belfast City Hospital and two General Practices.
"My patients often come to see me after they've had a stay in hospital - with the ECR, I have all the information about what's happened to them at my fingertips," Dr Jimmy Courtney, a GP at Priory Surgery in Holywood, said.
"I don't have to wait for the hospital discharge letter before I can give the patient the explanations, reassurance or treatment that they have come for. This is good news for patients."
Maeve Hully, chief executive of the Patient and Client Council added: "We welcome this sensible development which reflects what people want and expect.
"It will avoid the need for people to tell their story many times to health care staff."
It is expected that every health trust in Northern Ireland will have access to the system by April 2013.
A contract to deliver the Electronic Care record system has been signed with Orion Health and is worth approximately £9m over the next seven years.