According to a recent news release, this coming September, 2011, in London, a prestigious group of healthcare professionals and Roger Lamb, healthcare sector manager at GS1 UK, are convening an event to address the concerns and challenges of the European healthcare market. The event is being organized by Healthcare IQ, a division of International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC). A spokesperson from that organization summed up the chief objective of the planned gathering:
“Healthcare providers across the continent are looking forward to the day when EU-wide e-Health collaboration is a reality, when data can flow freely, yet securely, across institutional and international boundaries, thus increasing efficiency and improving patient outcomes.”
Of seven topics identified as being at the top of the agenda for the event, in addition to a focus on electronic medical records, two others include: Facilitating collaboration between healthcare and technology professionals whether in different departments, at different organisations or in different countries… Complying with standards…
All of this got me thinking. Healthcare professionals aren’t the only ones longing for the day when global e-Health collaboration, supported by data standards, and maximized through electronic medical records becomes a reality. How often does it happen, for example, that a person travelling far from home needs to see a doctor but has no reliable way of conveying their medical history? How often does it happen even close to home that one regional hospital you visit can reliably convey a medical record to a second regional hospital in the area? If you name is John Smith, how often has the medical record been pulled on your behalf but for a different John Smith or Jon Smith or John Smyth? How often does a general practitioner fail to get your medical record over in time to a specialist that has been recommended to you? How much of your medical history dating back to childhood and early adulthood has been lost in long gone file cabinets kept by physicians who retired 25 years ago?
I think it’s great that healthcare professional are convening to discuss these things. In the end, however, I’m betting the major force behind transformative change will come from healthcare consumers who, if you’ll pardon the pun, are sick and tired of business as usual.
You can see the news release about the upcoming event in London this September at this link.