First-ever paperless baby in Northern Ireland is born as Province finally begins switching to computerised medical records

Baby Nylah, born in Belfast, November 9, 2023 (Photo: /)
Baby Nylah, born in Belfast, November 9, 2023 (Photo: /)

​Little Nylah, born in the Ulster Hospital in east Belfast on Thursday morning, is the first infant to have an entirely digital health record in Northern Ireland.

This means that there is no hard-copy paper version of her medical records.

It also means her family can look up her health records electronically.

Baby Nylah with mother Chantelle Jolley (Photo: /)
Baby Nylah with mother Chantelle Jolley (Photo: /)

The South Eastern Trust described it as a “historic and emotional moment”.

The digital system is called Encompass, and has been in gestation for the last seven years prior to this week’s roll-out.

It was built by Wisconsin-based software firm Epic, and was created specifically for Northern Ireland.

A statement from the trust quoted mum Chantelle Jolley as saying: “The new digital record will be so helpful. I am thrilled that Nylah was the first baby in Northern Ireland to have a digital health record.”

Lead midwife Sarah McKevitt added: “Encompass will transform the way we manage patient information, making healthcare more accessible and efficient.”

Encompass will be rolled out to other Trusts on a phased basis over the next 18 – 24 months.

The Belfast Trust will follow the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and it will then be implemented in the Northern, Western and Southern Trusts.

The Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary Peter May said: “The launch of Encompass signals a new era for health and social care services and is part of the Department’s transformation strategy.

"It is much more than updating to a new system, it means that for the first time ever all patient information will be held in one place.

"Patients will not need to repeat their information to staff at every appointment, creating a better experience for patients and service users.

“The way information is accessed will protect patients’ privacy. Paper records will be a thing of the past, ensuring information can be accessed wherever it is needed.

"Information will be more readily available to plan services and prevent health issues at the population level.

“For staff, Encompass will simplify things; allowing them to get the right information at the right time and providing better quality data for improvement of our services in the future.

"Staff will have secure, comprehensive access on modern devices, reducing duplication of services like tests and reducing the risk of errors.

“In due course, everyone in Northern Ireland will be able to install an app on their mobile device called ‘MyCare’ where they will be able to access their own patient records, including information about appointments and test results.”