CMAJ - Go local, European review of electronic health records advises


Grandiose nationwide electronic health record (EHR) systems aimed at aggregating patient data into general summaries may not be feasible, necessary or medically justified, according to a European Commission report. The review of European ehealth investments suggests that decentralized approaches are preferable. Large-scale systems are "much more difficult than you ever dreamt of," says Karl Stroetmann, lead author of the stock-taking survey…

The report, European countries on their journey towards national ehealth infrastructures, helps put Canada’s ehealth quandary into perspective, says Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, professor of medicine McGill University in Montréal, Quebec, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, and member of McGill’s Clinical and Health Informatics Research Group.

Tamblyn’s group has found that Canada Health Infoway’s efforts to build a complex nationwide health "infostructure" emphasized national over regional investment, while failing to link the implementation of ehealth technologies to strategic health objectives such as "improvements in patient safety, management of chronic diseases and sustainability of the health care system"