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New secure communication portal for GPs from Wellola

A collaboration between the HSE and Irish portal firm Wellola has resulted in the launch of a new secure communication portal for GPs and primary care providers.

HSE COVID19 Portal is a simple digital tool designed to optimise clinician and patient safety. The HSE-specific portal was created — based on existing technology already developed and tested by Wellola — in just FOUR days after Wellola was contacted by the HSE last Thursday.

Wellola is an Irish-owned patient portal firm which has been primarily focused on the mental healthcare market in Ireland and the UK. After getting the call from the HSE, it developed a specific portal responding to the urgent need to support GPs, primary care providers and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This care-enabling technology supports clinicians to keep people well and treat those that are unwell, in the community where possible. Its aim is also to protect those medical practitioners on the front-line offering care.

Available at www.hsecovid19.ie, Irish GPs and primary care providers can set up an account in the portal to offer their patients secure online communications. This will allow them to communication with their patients in the following ways:

•Online Booking

•Video Consultation Software (in app or via text or email)

•Secure Messaging

•Form Completion to assist in triaging

•Resource Sharing

•Payment Functionalities (e-Invoicing, payment in video-screen etc)

•e-Prescriptions (coming soon)

The patient experience of the portal is via an app, downloadable at the www.hsecovid19.ie website. An iOS and Android version is launching next week.

Patients, once given access by their clinician, can download and log in to the app to manage all communication and share clinical information.

The app is free to patients and is free to medical practitioners for the first month and at the cost price of €19 per month after that.

What are the potential benefits of the HSE COVID19 portal?

Mitigating Risk: The tool allows for triaging of patients before they attend a GP practice or hospital (e.g. form filling, online booking, video consultation features)

Remote Care Provision: caring for patients who are self-isolating (e.g. messaging, video, sharing resource features)

Maintaining Workforce/ Flexible Working: all data is hosted centrally in the cloud, so should clinicians (e.g. GPs or consultants etc.) be required to self-isolate, they can still contribute to caring for patients

Connected Database: all stakeholders (community based, primary care, GP, hospitals etc.) could potentially access/track/share patient information for victims of COVID-19 via this single, central cloud-based system.

Wellola CEO Sonia Neary, pictured above,  said: “When we got the call last Thursday to help in the crisis, our small team didn’t hesitate to work with the HSE to develop the new portal for GPs and other primary care workers. The portal is based on existing technology already developed and tested by Wellola. Our focus in this project was to ensure that an enhanced video functionality would work on every browser and device.”

Dr. Martin Curley of the HSE Digital Transformation team said: “We are thankful and pleased to partner with Sonia Neary and Wellola in providing a video consultation solutions for GPs which will be a key tool in providing remote care and a critical tool in helping avoid further contagion of COVID-19. We encourage GPs and other healthcare providers to access and use this service which is provided at cost.”

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