Progress Report from Europe — eHealth Successes and Challenges

An “eHealth Strategies” report published January 2011 by the European Commission revealed progress in certain areas, but challenges in others. The report, authored by Stroetmann et al, acknowledges that a number of countries in Europe have made substantial progress towards implementation of an eHealth infrastructure. But it also identifies many common challenges.

Ten recommendations cover the following high-level areas:

  1. Cross sector cooperation, integrated care
  2. Learning together, trans-European exchange of experience
  3. eHealth governance
  4. Industrial and stakeholder involvement
  5. Invest in training and education
  6. Standardization
  7. Evaluation and impact assessment
  8. Re-use of individual patient health data
  9. Financing challenges
  10. Improve support for citizens and patients

Selected findings from the report:

  • The authors point out that the complexity of national electronic health record systems cannot be centrally implemented and managed in countries of more that 10 million citizens. One success in Europe for a centrally managed EHR system is Andalusia, Spain with approximately 8 million citizens. (However, it is important to note that all primary care providers in Andalusia are employed by the state and are required to use the state system. – AB)
  • Scotland is highlighted as having a very successful system with bottom-up clinical guidance and a governance structure with strong clinical input at the highest levels and a focus on change and benefits realization as a core foundational component (service redesign, EHRs, data quality, user skills, etc.).
  • Progress with E-Prescribing is reviewed in detail in a number of nations. This should be of great interest to individuals involved with E-Prescribing programs in the U.S.

This is a very good report and recommended reading for policymakers and those involved with EHR implementation and use.

To download a copy of the report, click here.

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