HIMSS investigates global EHR implementation

Recognising common threads that affect all EHR implementations in 15 countries, the Global Enterprise Task Force of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has released the white paper Electronic Health Records: A Global Perspective. The extensive study reviewed healthcare IT progress in Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and North America.    The 16-member task force looked at various EHR components within each country, including, security, quality, financing sources and barriers to adoption. Amid many variations, four common factors emerged that affect implementation of the electronic health record throughout the world.  They are Funding, Governance, Standardisation and interoperability, Communication. “This comprehensive report provides actionable lessons learned from each of the countries we reviewed. Despite the local differences in the logistics of EHR implementation, we found that all of the countries believed in the benefits of health IT and introduced this technology into their respective health systems,” said Steve Arnold, MD MS MBA CPE, chair of the task force and president/CEO, Healthcare Consultants International. Walter W Wieners, FHIMSS, co-chaired the task force and is managing principal, Walter W Wieners Consulting. The 119-page report presents findings on EHR implementation by country in five categories. Each chapter features an overview of the country’s EHR status followed by a review of achievements, barriers and recommendations in the different areas.   The National EHR Program section introduces the electronic health record approach by each country by reviewing two vital areas of implementation. National IT/ICT Status & Strategy describes existing IT/ICT status and strategy for the future implementation of a national EHR system. The section on the National/Regional EHR Approach looks at how the country approached acceptance, adoption, deployment, operation and support of a national EHR and health information exchange (HIE) system.    EHR Governance reviews the legal and/or regulatory mechanisms, and policies and procedures in place, that either enable or hinder the implementation and deployment of EHRs and HIE. The Technology section provides a wide perspective on the architecture and applications of the EHR system, with topics of the personal health record, non-health communities and EHR integration beyond the country’s borders also covered. An update on the progress of technology adoption provides an overview of EHR, PHR and HIE services with implementation success stories from the countries with more mature EHR systems. Available metrics of successful EHR/PHR/HIE Outcomes and financial ROI Benefits and Implementation experiences are described in this section. With health IT recognised as an evolving technology, Next Steps summarises each country’s plans. “It’s imperative to view healthcare IT solutions in the global context,” said Patricia Wise, RN MSN MA FHIMSS, vice president, Health Information Systems, HIMSS. “By documenting what worked and what didn’t, the white paper offers an expanded perspective on the progress, and challenges, of EHR implementation throughout the world.”  The white paper, Electronic Health Records: A Global Perspective, is available on the HIMSS website.

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