E-Health will increase efficiency
, July 4, 2013
The implementation of national e-Health systems will provide greater efficiency in health care, workforce productivity and better management of resources in the GCC, said a Deloitte Middle East whitepaper.
The whitepaper entitled ‘Middle East public sector - National necessities: e-Health’, sheds light on the GCC countries that are facing a rise in the incidence of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases, which have accompanied improved living standards and life expectancy in recent years.
About 90 per cent of diseases in the UAE continue to be caused by chronic lifestyle-induced conditions and injuries, it said.
The report discusses the opportunities and challenges tied to a national e-Health strategy as one way of improving the health of a nation, through its ability to harness the power of information technology and electronic telecommunications to generate better outcomes for patients and care providers.
It also provides case studies from around the world as well as recommendations for e-Health solutions in the region, and examines what lies ahead for the sector.
“The secret to success in implementing e-Health systems is how well they are integrated and how well the implementation is incrementally phased,” said Abdelhamid Suboh, consulting partner and Public Sector leader.
“With such a complex large scale initiative, governments and clients need to think carefully about how to break down the implementation into programmes, how these programmes are inter-dependent, and how to sequence/phase the implementation of these programmes.”
One method of harnessing eHealth is through a national electronic health record (EHR), according to Deloitte healthcare experts.
The EHR replaces the traditional pen and paper or standalone systems approaches. With an EHR, every patient in the healthcare system has an electronic record that can be transmitted and shared by every healthcare provider in the system.
The primary benefit of an e-Health system is improved patient health but there are also direct and indirect benefits to the health system in general, such as a decrease in hospital readmissions, reduced waiting times due to better coordination of information and improved health system planning.
The report also includes a case study of a GCC nation that has allocated a large part of its healthcare budget to enhance healthcare services and in particular the delivery of e-Health.
A key part of this strategy is the introduction of EHR, as well as the equipping of hospitals and clinics with hospital information systems and enterprise resource planning.
Challenges and key recommendations for implementing the system include investment in computing infrastructure and national broadband services; planning and consultation; information protection, privacy and security; execution and requisite skills; and implementation of better plans allowing breakdown into smaller, manageable components.
The report cautions that the ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work in the implementation and the needs of the different end users should be considered once an e-Health system is in place, to make the best use of it.
“This is why it is important to have a thorough planning and consultation stage, in which all stakeholders are consulted before implementation,” said Suboh.
“Regional governments must continue to invest in the sector and mechanisms need to be put in place to encourage care providers who will be connected to an e-Health system to invest in the implementation and maintenance of computing infrastructure.” - TradeArabia News Service