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eHealth Statistics

e-Health Statistics

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The Scottish Government's eHealth programme aims to change the way in which information and related technology are used within NHSScotland in order to improve the quality of patient care.

Delivering the eHealth Programme is vital to support the shift from reactive, crisis management, acute-orientated care towards anticipatory, preventative and continuous care.

eHealth supports improvements in service delivery at the level of individual organisations and redesign of processes and roles. This impacts on both clinical and administrative staff and will affect all professional groups.

eHealth aims to improve patient care through advances in technology, resulting in better access to health information, joined-up GP and hospital services and quicker results such as lab tests and x-rays. However, it is not just about technology, it is about modernising processes and encouraging new ways of working.

Within the eHealth programme, the Change and Benefits division promotes and supports the implementation and use of a range of technological solutions for health information management, including universal usage of the community health index (CHI) and electronic referrals (e-Referrals).

Main Findings

Published for the first time, the statistics presented below illustrate the percentage utilisation of the Community Health Index (CHI) and percentage of hospital referrals received electronically (e-referrals) in NHSScotland.

CHI Utilisation (Lab Requests) - April 2007 to March 2009

The CHI number is a unique identifier for every individual, and provides the basis for NHSScotland to link information across the range of services provided. Use of the CHI number in every document or record for every patient increases quality, speed and efficiency of all health services, and introduces the ability to share information more effectively.

  • The proportion of requests received by diagnostic laboratories where the request was identified by a valid CHI has increased by 9 percentage points from 88% in April 2007 to 97% in March 2009.

CHI Utilisation Chart and Data


The measure illustrated in chart 1 and table 1 is based on a random sample (minimum of 0.5%) of each NHS board's laboratory activity. It is calculated as the number of lab requests received which are identified by a valid CHI expressed as a percentage of all lab requests received. For example, in March 2009, a total sample of 895,999 lab requests were reviewed by NHS Boards. 97% of those sampled included a valid CHI number. According to eHealth CHI Programme data, this would equate to CHI compliance on approximately 2,242,000 out of a total of approximately 2,305,000 lab requests received by boards in NHSScotland during March 2009.

Electronic Referrals - quarters ending 31 March 2008 to 30 June 2009

Managing referrals electronically reduces risk and speeds up the process. This target supports patient equity and focus, and efficiency by improving the timeliness and effectiveness of the referral management process.

  • The proportion of all referrals received through SCI Gateway by NHS Boards in Scotland has increased by 15.8 percentage points from 72.7% in April 2008 to 88.5% in June 2009.

eReferrals Chart and Data


The measure illustrated in chart 2 and table 2 is calculated as the number of referrals received via the SCI gateway referral management system as a percentage of the total number of referrals received. For example, in June 2009 there were a total 102,732 referrals received by boards in NHSScotland according to local systems. Of these 90,938 were received through SCI Gateway. 90,938 / 102,732 x 100 = 88.5%

Further Information

This is the first time these data have been published. Although not classified as National Statistics they are regarded as Official Statistics and, as such, are bound by the principles and protocols contained within the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Both the measures above contribute to the Scottish Government's HEAT performance targets.

  • HEAT target E1 - Universal utilisation of CHI (Community Health Index) for laboratory requests
  • HEAT target E7 - To increase the percentage of new GP outpatient referrals into consultant led secondary care services that are managed electronically to 90% from December 2010

Useful Links

e-Health programme and associated divisions - http://www.ehealth.scot.nhs.uk/

Scottish Care Information (SCI) Gateway - http://www.sci.scot.nhs.uk/products/gateway/gateway_prod_overview.htm

Community Health Index - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/NHS-Scotland/Delivery-Improvement/1835/1865/1852

UK Statistics Authority, Code of Practice for Official Statistics - http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html

Scottish Government NHSScotland Performance Targets (HEAT) - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/NHS-Scotland/17273

For further information, please contact:

Richard Hunter

Scottish Government

Health Analytical Services

email: Richard.Hunter@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Tel: 0131 244 2427