E-health must align with health care reform

Feb 22, 2011

To speed implementation of an electronic health record system in Canada, e-health policy must be closely aligned with the major strategic direction of health care reform and must take a bottom-up approach to engage people from clinicians to administrators, states a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Canada Health Infoway has invested almost $1.6 billion towards 280 health information technology projects in the last decade, but Canada is far behind other Western countries in adopting electronic health records. "As of 2009, only 36% of Canadian physicians were using an electronic health record, as compared with more than 90% of physicians in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Netherlands," writes Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, Department of Medicine, McGill University and Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, with coauthors.

The study included structured interviews with 29 key stakeholders representing national and provincial organizations responsible for policy-setting and strategic planning for health information technology.

Successes of the Canada Health Infoway initiative include national standards, funding linked to performance benchmarks, patient registries and digital imaging. However, significant barriers to adoption were identified such as the lack of a national policy body, inadequate involvement of clinicians, disconnect between the business case and the needs of clinicians and the , inflexibility and focus on national rather than regional collaboration to support clinical adoption.

"A key finding that emerged was the absence of an e-health policy to align the investment in information technology with the priorities of the health care system and of health care providers in order to accelerate adoption and achieve early return on the investment," write the authors.

"Canada needs to establish an e-health policy to guide the implementation of health information technologies to address the major strategic priorities of — improvements in patient safety, management of chronic diseases and sustainability of the health care system — and to promote the adoption of and exchange of clinical data to address these challenges," conclude the authors. They recommend strong clinical and administrative leadership and the creation of a chief provincial clinical information office to help adoption.

Explore further: Independent safety investigation needed in the NHS

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

No more dithering on e-health

Mar 01, 2010

Canada is lagging behind many countries in the use of electronic health records and it is critical that the country's medical and political leaders set targets for universal adoption, states an editorial in CMAJ.

Electronic health records may lower malpractice settlements

Nov 25, 2008

Use of electronic health records (EHRs) may help reduce paid malpractice settlements for physicians, according to a new study. The study, which appeared in the November 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, showed a tren ...

UMass Memorial health care develops fully integrated EMR

Apr 01, 2010

UMass Memorial Health Care is undertaking an electronic medical record integration project of incredible scope. Known as Cornerstone, the project is a multi-year, multi-entity corporate initiative to implement common patient ...

Recommended for you

Independent safety investigation needed in the NHS

2 hours ago

The NHS should follow the lead of aviation and other safety-critical industries and establish an independent safety investigation agency, according to a paper published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The au ...

Sexual fantasies: Are you normal?

6 hours ago

Hoping for sex with two women is common but fantasizing about golden showers is not. That's just one of the findings from a research project that scientifically defines sexual deviation for the first time ever. It was undertaken ...

AMA 'Code of Ethics' offers guidance for physicians

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics and other articles provide guidance for physicians in relation to public health emergencies, according to a report from the AMA.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.