A patient portal for people with dementia is to launch in Northern Ireland later this month, as part of the country’s national electronic care record project.

The portal will initially be trialled with 100 individuals. It will enable people with dementia to view their appointments online, and make it possible for patients, carers and clinicians to share information.

The underpinning technology will be delivered by Orion Health and expands on the supplier’s ongoing work with Health & Social Care in Northern Ireland (HSC’s) Electronic Care Record system.

Eddie Ritson, programme director for HSC’s centre for connected health and social care, said the project would “put patients at the centre of care, encourage greater self-care and help in the co-ordination of service delivery”.

He added: “The patient portal marks an important milestone for the health service in Northern Ireland and… will allow specific protocols to be established with the aim of enabling much better communication between patients, their carers and clinicians.”

While the patient portal – dubbed the Pathfinder Project – will initially focus on people living with dementia, it is anticipated it will be expanded to other areas of care in Northern Ireland once a proof of concept has been established.

Orion said it had chosen to focus on dementia care in the first instance “in order to better understand user requirements in such a complex and diverse area of healthcare”.

When the patient portal launches it will primarily focus on enabling clinicians, carers and patients to share relevant information about an individual’s condition and care needs.

Additional tools will be systematically pushed out during the course of the project, including prescription and treatment records, access to laboratory results, and goal setting, which will allow patients to record and track targets suggested by clinicians.

A messaging system may also be added further down the line.

Orion Health signed a £9m, seven-year contract with HCS in 2012 to deploy a nationwide electronic care record in Northern Ireland, with a focus on providing an online patient portal and access to health records.

Gary Birks, general manager UK and Ireland for Orion Health, said: “We are delighted to be working on the Patient Portal Pathfinder project which builds upon our continued work to deliver and develop the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record system.

“The patient portal will build upon this platform and… deliver real benefits in the care provided to people living with dementia and their carers whilst improving efficiencies for the health service.”