News Archive - 2015

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December 2015 - eReferrals Shortlisted for a 2016 eGovernment Award

The National eReferral Rollout Project has been shortlisted for a 2016 Ireland eGovernment Award.  The project is a joint collaboration between the Office of the Chief Information Officer and Healthlink and builds upon the success of a pilot that was developed and implemented in hospitals across the South/South West Hospital Group. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 29 January 2016 in Dublin Castle.

December 2015 - Connolly Hospital using eReferrals

The Healthlink team are setting up and training a number of hospitals this week to use general referrals. Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown went live this morning while Mayo are ready for tomorrow. We also hope to have UL Hospitals and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital live before the end of the year.

December 2015 - Two New Messages for AMNCH

Following a successful pilot, Waiting List Updates and OPD updates are now live in AMNCH. OPD updates include new appointments, cancellations and did not attends. These messages can be downloaded into patient files similar to lab and radiology reports.

December 2015 - 20 Hospitals now live with eReferrals

We are pleased to announce that St. Luke's General Hospital, Kilkenny has become the 20th hospital to go live with eReferrals. Referral responses will be sent back to the GP indicating triage details and a date/time of appointment if known. The next sites to go live are Mayo General Hospital and Connolly Hospital with the aim of having all acute hospitals live by March 2016.

November 2015 - Healthlink User Survey

Earlier this year we carried out a user satisfaction survey to seek feedback on Healthlink services, usage, support & training. The results of the survey show that dependency on the system is very high and has increased heavily in recent years. Healthlink services are thought to be very reliable and we have high satisfaction ratings for support and training. The survey has highlighted areas where improvements can be made and we have a number of follow-ups to attend to based on feedback given. The full survey report is available here.

November 2015 - Healthlink Newsletter

Click here for issue 20

October 2015 - The National Healthlink Project is now part of eHealth Ireland

The National Healthlink Project is the first operating group to join eHealth Ireland. eHealth Ireland was established earlier this year by the HSE’s Chief Information Officer, Richard Corbridge, to focus on the promotion and implementation of the eHealth strategy. The Knowledge & Information Strategy outlines how eHealth Ireland will deliver the enabling technology to support the creation of a digitally connected healthcare system. Healthlink is acknowledged in the strategy as an example of successful technology that benefits the patient, clinician and the overall health system.

The Healthlink team is enthused by this opportunity to further develop our services to meet the messaging and integration needs of healthcare in Ireland. As the established national messaging broker, Healthlink has seen significant growth and expansion since the project inception in 1995. Healthlink has a proven track record in delivering IT solutions to GPs and hospitals and has been the cornerstone for many HSE ICT initiatives over recent years.

The Healthlink service, support and brand will be maintained throughout this transition. There will be no change or impact on our core services or the ways in which we deliver those ser-vices. Our aim is to continue to provide all Healthlink users with a high quality, reliable service and we look forward to rolling out more beneficial services in the future.

October 2015 - Pigmented Lesion Cancer Referrals

It is now possible to send Pigmented Lesion Referrals to University Hospital Limerick. Similarly to the other cancer referrals, a response will be returned to the referring GP within 5 working days. This referral form is the first specialised referral form to utilise Healthlink's Integrated Browser technology. The form is completed in two parts - first, the general referral questions are presented followed then by the 'specialist' details. Other hospitals accepting Pigmented Lesion referrals are St. Vincent’s, St. James’s, Roscommon County, South Infirmary Victoria Hospital and AMNCH.

October 2015 - eReferrals in Portiuncula Hospital

eReferrals are now live in Portiuncula Hospital. The available specialties are Cardiac, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Gynaecology, Medical, Nerve Conductive, Obstetrics, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Pain, Pre-Assessment, Surgical and Urology. Referral responses will be sent back to the GP indicating triage details and a date/time of appointment if known.

October 2015 - Healthlink Technical Specs

Healthlink technical specifications enable our partners to exchange data and information across healthcare organisations. Healthcare software providers use these specifications to provide functionality such as the delivery of laboratory orders and reports, discharge reports, referral messages and responses.

We are making these publicly available to assist businesses and individuals who are interested in working with us on messaging projects.

The Healthlink Hospital Information & Interface Specification provides overall information about enabling Healthlink services for Hospitals and Health Care facilities. The HealthlinkOnline Message Specification gives all the detail required for interfacing with HealthlinkOnline. This document covers the message types supported by Healthlink, data requirements, message formats etc.

The newly released specifications are part of Healthlink’s ongoing effort to help improve the interoperability and connectivity of healthcare systems in Ireland. 

The specs are available on

October 2015 - Healthlink on Twitter!

We are now on twitter @HealthlinkIrl. Follow us to to receive all the latest Healthlink news, service updates and information.

October 2015 - eReferrals in Roscommon

We are pleased to announce that eReferrals are live in Roscommon County Hospital. The available specialties are Medical, Endocrine/Diabetes, Surgical, ENT, Orthopaedic, Plastics, Vascular and Urology. The Central Referrals team will send a response back to the referring GP within 5 working days.

October 2015 - BreastCheck Reports Live on Healthlink

Following a successful pilot of normal mammogram reports from BreastCheck, the service is now live from four screening centres: Eccles, Cork, Galway and the Merrion unit. This is our second project with the National Screening Service, cytology reports are already available from MedLab and Quest laboratories. The NSS and Healthlink now plan to test the sending of non-normal mammogram reports followed by faecal immunochemical test (FIT) reports from BowelScreen, the National Bowel Screening Programme.

October 2015 - Seventeen Hospitals using Healthlink Electronic Referrals

At present 17 hospitals in Ireland are accepting eReferrals from General Practitioners. The most recent hospitals to adopt the service are the Rotunda, Mater, Waterford and St. Columcille's. The great advantage for GPs is that they can complete the electronic referral form from within their practice management system. Much of the information is auto-populated thereby cutting down on the time taken to place a referral. Furthermore, an immediate acknowledgement is received to confirm the referral has been successfully submitted.

The Mater hospital is the first site to go live with Phase II of the referrals project. Their referrals are fully integrated with PatientCentre, the Mater's EPR system. From the hospital's point of view the referral is no longer printed on arrival resulting in substantial savings in administrative time due to automation of this key step in the referral process.

The next sites to go live are Roscommon and Portiuncula with the aim of having all acute hospitals live by March 2016.

September 2015 - Continued Rollout of eReferrals

Electronic General Referrals are live in Galway University Hospitals. GPs can send eReferrals to all specialties in UCHG and Merlin Park Hospital. St. Michael's Hospital in Dun Laoghaire is also accepting eReferrals into the Dermatology department with the intention to expand this to other specialties soon.

August 2015 - eReferrals in Sligo and Letterkenny Hospitals

GPs can now send eReferrals to 11 specialties in Sligo Regional Hospital. A response will be returned to the GP within 5 working days. The specialties are as follows: Orthopaedics,Gen Surgery,Urology,Neurology,Dermatology,Diabetology,Immunology,ENT,Medical, Ophthalmology and Paediatrics. Letterkenny has gone live with all specialties. Please note Letterkenny will not be sending referral responses as yet.

August 2015 - Healthlink in the Rotunda Hospital

This month sees the expansion of Healthlink into a new hospital, the Rotunda. The Rotunda is the latest site to implement NIMIS which also means GPs can receive Radiology reports via Healthlink from this hospital.

June 2015 - NSS Projects

Work is ongoing with the National Screening Service (NSS) producing electronic reports from the cytology laboratories. Quest reports have just gone live, MedLab have been live since 2014. We are also piloting normal mammogram reports from BreastCheck from four screening centres: Eccles, Cork, Galway and the Merrion unit.

June 2015 - Email Healthlink Securely with Healthmail

Healthlink's secure connection to Healthmail is active. This means that GPs or practice staff using accounts can communicate securely with healthlink email addresses eg.

May 2015 - Healthlink Newsletter

Click here for issue 19

May 2015 - Pigmented Lesion Cancer Referrals

Following a successful pilot of Pigmented Lesion Cancer referrals , the service is running live in St. Vincentís, St. Jamesís, Roscommon County and South Infirmary Victoria Hospitals. The referral form is based on the NCCP hardcopy referral form but the advantage of the electronic version is that the GP receives an instant response that the referral has been successfully received. Similarly to the other cancer referrals, a response will be sent to the GP within 5 working days. This referral service will be rolled out to at least 3 more hospitals later this year.

April 2015 - Healthlink Celebrate Delivering 10 Million Messages in 2014

On Thursday, 30th April 2015, Healthlink hosted an event in Croke Park Conference Centre to celebrate sending a record 10 million messages in 2014. The 10 millionth message was a laboratory report sent from St. James’s Hospital to Dr. Miriam Carey, The Iveagh Medical Clinic, Dublin 12. The event was attended by Kathleen Lynch, Minister for Primary Care, Social Care & Mental Health who presented prizes to Mary Leech, Practice Manager at The Iveagh Medical Clinic and John Gibbons, Laboratory Manager at St. James’s Hospital.

Over 52 million messages have been delivered by Healthlink since the project initially commenced in the Mater Hospital in 1995. In her speech, Minister Lynch said "I would like to pay tribute to Healthlink for the invaluable contribution it has made through many ICT health initiatives over the years.  It has played a key role in modernising our health services, enabling effective integration between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Care, which has resulted in tangible benefits for health service users across the country."

Click here for full press release.

April 2015 - General Referral Pilot in St. Vincent's

St. Vincentís hospital commenced the electronic general referrals pilot at the end of April and hope to be in a position to roll out to all users by the end of May. The 3 specialties currently taking part are ENT, Renal & Rheumatology.

March 2015 - Pilot of New Messages in AMNCH

Two new messages are begin piloted in AMNCH - Waiting List Updates and OPD updates. OPD updates include new appointments, cancellations and did not attends. Once the pilot has successfully completed we will release these messages to all GPs in the Tallaght area.

February 2015 - Radiology reports Live in St. John's Hospital, Limerick

The NIMIS rollout continues with St. John’s in Limerick going live in February. The next planned sites are St. James’s in June, the Rotunda in September and Letterkenny General in October 2015.

January 2015 - Paperless Radiology Reports, Louth Meath Hospital Group

From February 1st 2015, the Louth Meath Radiology Departments will issue reports in
electronic format only. Continuing supply of hard copy reports will be available only
by individual consultation. Please click here to read full memo to GPs.