E-Health To Cut Health Costs and Save Lives
A first-rate e-Health records system saves lives, provides better patient care and saves money according to one of Europe’s most influential e-Health ICT executives.
The Vice President of CSC’s Healthcare Practice for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Dr Harald Deutsch has analysed the Australian federal government’s e-Health reform initiatives. The health industry still remains largely based on pen and paper for patient records. By converting to electronic records care providers will be able to make the best possible diagnosis and treatment decisions when they have access to data from all sources, and save money at the same time.
“Electronically capturing and exchanging patients’ clinical data creates new alternatives to face-to-face care, which can be equally effective, less costly and more efficient,” Dr Deutsch said.
“Health information exchanges (HIEs) and electronic health records (EHRs) are a necessary component of large-scale e-Health
initiatives that promote the overall healthcare transformation, address today’s challenges and provides better care.”
“A digital e-Health system does away with the error-prone system of multiple paper records, which place huge unnecessary strains on administration. Needless to say, the real benefit is improved patient care as citizens get better, safer treatments.”
Dr Deutsch has been a key player in the development of e-Health initiatives in the UK, Denmark, Holland and the Middle East.
He says reliable patient data informs clinical decision-making, ensuring the best and most accurate diagnosis and the best treatment. “Electronic systems can cut waiting times, speed up the referrals process and promote smoother hospital discharge. Medication errors can be reduced through e-prescribing, especially when the clinician has access to the patients’ allergies, conditions and any other medicines they are taking. All in all, technology is a force for good, and plays an important
role in modern healthcare systems.”
But he’s warned that as the Australian government continues on the e-Health journey it is important to remember that health technology is in place to support healthcare reform, not to drive it. E-Health enables better healthcare, it should not introduce change for technology’s sake.
Dr Deutsch says in Europe we are currently observing a “normalisation” of e-Health.