Improving the quality of health records for a healthier Europe
Health records are becoming increasingly used by citizens and health professionals to aggregate data that comes from many different sources. At the EuroRec Institute, we promote the use of high-quality health record systems by focusing on the users—their needs and how they interact with health information.
The main obstacle to the transfer of health records to the cloud is concern about system reliability, functionality and data trustworthiness. For instance, a health record that includes two diverging diagnoses by two different healthcare professionals for the same condition may actually complicate care delivery, rather than simplify it. This is why we need a protocol for managing conflicting information.
One way to ensure the good management of health information is to institute a keeper for each health record. For example, in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, there already is one general practitioner responsible for each patient. In these countries, that general practitioner could be the care professional accountable for the sharable patient record.
Another solution that would add credibility to shared information would be to include its source. Despite the increasing demand for quality labelling of health records, only 40% of systems currently on the market disclose an author, a date of creation, and dates for each change made. There are products on the market that let you modify health records without leaving any evidence that something has been changed. When you share information from different origins, you need to have a way to very clearly indicate where the information is coming from, especially if you are making decisions based on that information.
EuroRec is also looking into how personal health records can interact with professional health records. We are trying to improve the quality of professional records by defining and testing functional requirements. For example, while the personal health record may include data entered by the patient, a more rigorous protocol should apply when a personal health record is injected into a professional health record. That is why the system should store the origin of a health record. There is still much to be regulated on how information coming from the personal health record will be handled within the professional health record.
About the EuroRec Institute
The EuroRec Institute is an independent not-for-profit organisation, promoting in Europe the use of high quality Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs). One of its main missions is to support, as the European certification body, EHRs quality labelling and defining functional and other criteria.
EuroRec is organised as a permanent network of National ProRec centres and provides services to industry (the developers and vendors), healthcare providers (the buyers), policy makers and patients. For more information, visit http://www.eurorec.org/
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