The unmet need for a cross-platform electronic health record (EHR) must be addressed for the healthcare space to move forward and bring with it personalised health solutions, according to GlobalData.
As companies focus more on cloud-based solutions and, vying for business, boast ‘streamlined EHRs’, many healthcare systems still face obstacles to providing personalised health solutions for better patient outcomes.
Atif Nawaz, healthcare analyst at GlobalData, says: “Currently, there are numerous vendors that provide EHR conversions for practices stuck with a more traditional approach.
“Companies such as Athena Health, Cerner Corporation, Epic Systems Corporation and Allscripts provide EHR solutions, but these systems are proprietary software that lack connectivity and interoperability.
“Solutions such as these are hard to implement on a municipality level, as patients tend to obtain healthcare from numerous settings – including primary, acute, ambulatory and community care.”
The benefits of EHR
Ontario, Canada, recently introduced a new initiative called the ‘Connectivity Strategy for EHealth in Ontario’, which enables key healthcare stakeholders to create a safe, cost-effective and provincially integrated EHR.
Nawaz adds: “The US has taken steps to delve deeper into the health IT paradigm shift in order to provide better health records.
“The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers incentive payments to healthcare providers who adopt and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
“However, the federal government does not dictate which EHR systems should be utilised or provide any plan to aggregate information across multiple EHR systems, which creates a mosaic of non-standardised health information.”
The UK’s attempt at EHR
In the UK, however, the NHS had a negative experience of trying to implement a nationwide EHR, investing £12.7bn (~€14.4bn) into the National Programme for Information Technology, which was intended to create a national EHR system and eliminate the challenges of interoperability due to varying systems.
However, a major hurdle for the programme was weak management, resulting in unrealistic completion dates and budgets.
In addition, there was no alignment between stakeholders such as clinicians, software designers, and prospective end users of the software, and the programme was terminated in 2011 after nine years of investment, planning and implementation.
Nawaz concludes: “These examples of various governments trying to execute a national EHR demonstrate the multifaceted issue of creating a standardised system. However, to create a holistic healthcare system, one single EHR is a necessity.
“Reaching a viable solution will take time and the involvement of all key stakeholders, but it is essential for better patient outcomes in a healthcare industry moving towards personalised health.”