Reading: A review of eHealth policies that underpin global health care digitization

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A review of eHealth policies that underpin global health care digitization

Authors:

Pradeep Sylva ,

Dental Surgeon (Health Informatics), Ministry of Health Colombo 10,, LK
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Buddhika Abeysinghe,

Abeysinghe MBBS (Kelaniya), MSc (B.M.I) (Colombo) Medical Officer, Ministry of Health Colombo 10,, LK
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Clive C James,

MD(St.Petersburg), MSc (B.M.I) (Colombo) Medical Officer (Health Informatics), Ministry of Health Colombo 10,, LK
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Anuradha Jayatilake,

MBBS (Colombo), MSc (B.M.I) (Colombo) Medical Officer, Base Hospital Homagama,, LK
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Sonali Lunuwila,

MBBS (Karapitiya), MSc (B.M.I) (Colombo) Medical Officer (Health Informatics), Ministry of Health Colombo 10, LK
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Deepaka Sanath,

MBBS (Colombo), MSc (B.M.I) (Colombo) Medical Officer (Health Informatics), Medical Research Institute Colombo 10,, LK
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W.K.D.K.K. Wijayaweera,

MBBS (Colombo), MSc (B.M.I) (Colombo) Medical Officer (Health Informatics), Ministry of Health Colombo 10,, LK
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Arjuna Wijekoon

MBBS (Kelaniya), MSc (B.M.I) (Colombo) Assistant Director (Health Information), Provincial Department of Health Services North Western Province,, LK
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Abstract

Healthcare systems in both the developed and the developing world face many challenges including higher demand, demand for higher quality and equitable distribution. The healthcare organizations and the governments alike have focused on eHealth as an adjunct to overcome these challenges. In the backdrop of sporadic initiatives running parallel to this thought, the realization of the need for long term strategy, policy guidelines and standards has been indeed swift. Thus, most pioneers of healthcare digitization have drafted and implemented such policies to varying degrees, to date. This review was aimed at analyzing eHealth strategy and policy related documents existing in the present day and identifying crucial policy issues which need higher emphasis over others. Academic articles on eHealth policy and policy related documents of USA, Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Scotland Europe, WHO and Commonwealth were included in this study. These articles were reviewed based on a set of predetermined eHealth policy related issues comprising of ; 1.Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives 2.Operational Framework 3.Legislation 4.ICT Management 5.eHealth Infrastructure 6.Capacity Building in ICT 7.Financial Resource Assessment and 8.Procurement and Contractual Issues. While most policies did not address all the predetermined criteria considered in this review, some deficiencies were due to variations in ICT usage and existing infrastructure of the observed countries. Elements of interoperability through data, software, hardware, web and mHealth standards, data security and privacy, accessibility and reliability formed the backbone of all eHealth policies, though none of the documents under review expressed expected levels of completeness. Thus, further work is needed to scientifically map the ground situations of ICT usage and infrastructure to policy issues addressed and to analyze outcomes to justify the emphasis given to such issues. Though, the task of identifying the perfect mantra for eHealth policy seems daunting, it is indeed worthwhile, since the unimaginable array of benefits of healthcare digitization awaits every nation.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/sljbmi.v2i4.2447

How to Cite: Sylva, P. et al., (2012). A review of eHealth policies that underpin global health care digitization. Sri Lanka Journal of Bio-Medical Informatics. 2(4), pp.118–129. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljbmi.v2i4.2447
Published on 07 Jun 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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