HRB LINK – A Unified Health Information System


The Health Research Board (HRB) is a statutory body under the aegis of the Department of Health.  The Health Research Board (HRB) is Ireland’s lead agency supporting and funding health research. The HRB’s mission is to improve people’s health, patient care and health services by leading and supporting research and generating knowledge, then promoting its application in policy and practice. The HRB focuses on research which helps to drive innovation in Ireland’s health system and supports economic development.

The HRB manages five national health information systems namely:

  • National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS)
  • National Psychiatric Inpatient Reporting System (NPIRS)
  • National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD)
  • National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD)
  • National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI).

The Opportunity

These information systems provide the information regarding disability service, admission and discharge of patients, alcohol and drug treatment and record of deaths related to drug abuse for policy, service planning and research. So there were five systems in place, which were doing more or less the same job, each for a different health segment.

This created challenges regarding support and maintenance of infrastructure as each system required separate set of service providers, additional cost in staff training and overhead expenses. Moreover, due to the lack of integration within systems, getting timely access to updated information was time consuming.

The Project

HRB chose TEKenable to provide them with an integrated, unified system which consolidates all the five national health information systems into a single platform where data regarding alcohol/drug treatment and disability services can be accessed and updated when required by the health service providers.

TEKenable through its Digital Systems service worked in collaboration with the HRB to develop a unified national health information system. This information system is used by a varied set of health service users from service providers such as St. John of Gods and addiction trearment centres to subgroups within the HSE and Dept of Health and Children such as. Local Health Offices.

The Outcome

The information this system helps to capture and maintain is used in strategic HRB research and reporting, annual reports and HSE service provision planning in 5-year strategic slices.

The new national health information system has not only transformed how the HRB gathers national health data, but also generated substantial cost savings through consolidating five individual information systems onto one platform and removing multiple suppliers in providing services and support and maintenance.

Accessing different data sets and reports has become easy as all the information is available on a single platform. Given the sensitivity of the information it contains, special attention has been paid in the design of LINK to ensuring data quality, privacy and security.

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