Catalonia’s digital health strategy and new information system model based on #openEHR standard

20th May 2021

The renewed information systems model will become more collaborative and sustainable. The use of open standards defines the strategy of the new electronic medical record of Catalonia and presents an opportunity for the Catalan technology sector.

Information systems for data collection and clinical information of patients, share the need to have an architecture and a repository based on a careful and standardized clinical language. This element is key to contributing to a satisfactory experience of health professionals and citizens in all their interactions with the digital services of the health system, facilitating updates and innovations in the electronic health histories of the providers and locating the people in the care center through their individual health data.

OpenEHR is the specific international and open standard for the design of clinical information models in knowledge-based electronic health histories. Through the use of its own language (language for defining archetypes), this reference model makes it possible to develop archetypes on which to collect and manage clinical data throughout the life cycle of people.

Catalonia, which is currently running a budget of € 40 million to develop a new model of information systems for the whole of SISCAT, will build the electronic health history with the openEHR standard for the benefits it brings to the health sector and the public. In terms of care, the implementation of a knowledge-based platform will reduce waiting times, enhance more effective care and ensure traceability and transparency. At the clinical level, professionals will have a shared and coherent semantics and collaborative knowledge will be enhanced. From a technical point of view, among others, the integrity of information and the deployment of clinical services based on health data will be promoted.

While currently the openEHR has already been successfully adopted by European regions such as Slovenia, Norway or Finland, the United Kingdom with Scotland and Wales at the helm or the city of Moscow itself, with the incorporation into the electronic health history, Catalonia will become the most populous European region that opts for open platforms as a solution for the future for its model of health information systems.

The electronic health history will be the longitudinal repository to collect the health status of people throughout the life cycle.

The Master Plan for Information Systems of the Integral Health System for Public Use in Catalonia (SISCAT) for the years 2018-2022 establishes the task of building a new model of health information systems shared by all health care providers that contribute to the transformation of the model of providing health services in Catalonia.

Our society faces a series of health and social challenges, such as chronicity, dependence, prevention of risk factors, the emergence of new diseases, the new models of care more collaborated between healthcare levels and the necessary health promotion, which require innovative technological solutions and a boost to data-based analytical processes.

The electronic health history of Catalonia is the central piece of the new model of information systems that is beginning to be built in what could be considered the second phase of digital transformation of the Catalan health sector. In 2007 in Catalonia an important process of change began as a result of major successful projects such as the interconnection of electronic health records between the entire public network of providers, the electronic prescription, the central system of digital medical image or personal health space, which have placed us among the leading territories in the adoption of digital health solutions.

The current situation calls for further progress in these innovations and that is why the construction of the electronic health history of Catalonia has begun as the longitudinal, transactional and shared repository to collect and care for the health of people throughout the world. life cycle, which will systematically replace private information systems between health care providers.

Towards a new technological ecosystem for collaboration with health professionals

Currently, in Catalonia there are a multiplicity of health information systems that share the function of monitoring patients through electronic medical records. This scenario has highlighted the existence of different models of clinical information, difficulties in achieving an agile and systemic deployment of innovations and an old-fashioned and unergonomic technology park.

The electronic health history of Catalonia wants to offer a more horizontal vision, overcoming the barriers of healthcare levels in order to move towards models of collaboration between organizations and health professionals, to establish its own language and shared by to information and promote the sustainability of the health system through economies of scale.

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