Health care is going digital in 5 years
For decades, Turkish governments have wanted to utilize e-governance. With the AKP administration, this process has been hastened, as more of the budget has been allocated to digitize public works.
However, money is not everything. Especially when you are doing big IT projects. Project management and setting the right targets is essential. The e-governance portal has been a big failure. It was said the e-portal would revolutionize the way citizens and governing bodies interact. After millions and millions of dollars and 5 years, only a handful of things can be done completely digital.
Therefore, when I hear about IT projects lead by the government, as below, I become a bit suspicious.
The Ministry of Health and HIMSS Europe organization, offering global-scale accreditation for IT use in hospitals, have undertaken a 5-year-term collaboration. The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Nov. 15, 2013. HIMSS will measure the compatibility of intelligence technologies at Turkish hospitals with international standards using Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), the globally recognized accreditation and standard system. The system aims to transfer medical health records into an electronic form. With the agreement, it is planned to expand the scope of the system to encompass public hospitals all over Turkey. The mobilization of patient records is supposed to allow immediate access to information anywhere, facilitated matching of the correct patient with the correct medicine, increase in the time allocated for each patient and in healthcare services while decreasing the number of medical errors.
Originally founded in 1961, HIMSS analyzes and offers accreditation for hospitals using a scoring system on their progress in completing the 7 stages to create a digital hospital environment. In Europe, as of May 2013, there are 26 hospitals with ‘HIMSS Stage 6’ accreditation and only 2 with ‘HIMSS Stage 7’ accreditation in accordance with the EMRAM Model, which is implemented to improve clinical processing and ensure compatibility with international standards. In Turkey, Ankara Gazi Mustafa Kemal Public Hospital piloted the use of the system and has ‘HIMSS Analytics EMRAM Stage 6’ accreditation.
However, this time, maybe after 5 years and millions of dollars we can have some results because HIMSS promises to watch over the progress. It is always a good idea to have a third independent institution to oversee projects. We should have done this by ourselves, but there is a Turkish saying that goes as the English: better late than never.