Frequently Asked Questions

What are electronic patient records?

Electronic patient records are information about patients held on the hospital computer systems. 


Over the next few years St. James’s Hospital will be moving all nursing and medical notes to an electronic system.

Why use electronic documentation instead of paper?

The electronic record is similar to a medical chart in many ways but has many advantages including: 


Is my information safe and secure?

System security is a high priority for the hospital and is constantly monitored.  The hospital takes all necessary precautions to keep the system safe and secure.  The hospital is compliant with all relevant policies (HSE/HIQA) including national and European legislation.

Is the system open to "hacking"?

As all electronic systems are potentially vulnerable to hacking, the hospital is constantly vigilant for attacks and takes all possible precautions to prevent and respond to this risk.

What if the system crashes?

All patient data is backed up every day and can be retrieved.

Who can access my information?

Your record can be accessed by health care professionals and administration staff within the hospital. Some information is accessible to specific staff only, e.g. sensitive medical social work notes are not available to other staff.

Everyone working for the hospital has a legal duty to keep information held about you confidential and secure. Staff receive appropriate training and sign a confidentiality agreement on commencing work within the hospital. It is easy to monitor who has been accessing information on an electronic patient record.

Is the information shared with anyone outside of the hospital?

The general rule around sharing information is that no identifiable information can be shared without your consent except in the following circumstances which are covered by law:

     • Notifiable infectious disease
     • Child or vulnerable adult protection
     • Road traffic law
     • Access to social welfare schemes
     • Cancer registry
     • Death and birth register
     • State Claims agency in relation to adverse incidents
     • Medical Exposure Radiation Unit

Is there still a paper record/chart?

Yes. At present patients have both an electronic record and a paper chart. The hospital is currently working to move most of the paper record/chart to electronic patient records in the next 2-3 years.

Can I access my own record?

You can apply through Freedom of Information (FOI) to get access to your own record.  For further information please see:

Can I input information into my own record?

Not at present. Work is on-going to look at ways of allowing patients to input information into their electronic record.
In the future examples may include:-

    • People with diabetes being able to upload their blood sugar reading
    • Being able to input a symptom diary
    • Self-monitoring with a weight or exercise compliance diary