A key element of the Action plan is the successful implementation of interoperable Electronic Health Records (EHR) and electronic Prescription (ePrescription) systems. In several EU Members States the implementation of such systems is undergoing. However, these implementations are representing islands at EU level and they are not allowing the exchange of medical information concerning a citizen which is travelling across Europe for leisure, work or study, when the need for an unexpected medical encounter arises.
One of the reasons is the lack of awareness of benefits of existing interoperable EHR and ePrescription systems and services. Therefore, there is a need to disseminate existing best practices and the associated benefits as well as to examine existing methodologies of assessment and to propose common approaches to proving benefits of interoperable solutions using coherent and quantitative (scientific) methods. Quantifying the added value that interoperable EHR and ePrescription is delivering will have impact on the acceptance not only by the health authorities and acceleration of eHealth market development, but also by the health professionals and most importantly by the citizens.
The study will also underpin the activities initiated by the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme in the area of eHealth i.e. the implementation of Large Scale Pilot 'EU wide implementation of eHealth services to support continuity of care: patient's summaries and ePrescription'.
The Objectives of the Study are to contribute to the eHealth Action Plan, in particular those activities that deal with the collection, analysis and eventual dissemination of best practices. This study will more specifically focus on economic aspects of EHR and ePrescription solutions. The specific goals of the study are:
- To identify practices that represent best practices - both at a general level and particularly in economic terms - in terms of the implementation of interoperable EHR and ePrescription; the best applications should be considered the ones respecting the relevant legislation on data protection.
- To apply state of the art evaluation methodologies and approaches focusing on efficiency and economic benefits in implementation of EHR and ePrescribing solutions;
- To apply the chosen methods to a limited number of applications (approximately 10) – within the primary and secondary care, hospitals or regional health networks in a range of Member States, analyse, and present the findings.
The activities covered by the study will be based on a common methodological approach which takes into account the specificities of each type of EHR (General Practitioners, Specialists, EHR as part of the Hospital Information Systems, EHR on the Web) and ePrescription solution but allows the aggregation of results and a global analysis. They will be based on the results of the previous study funded by the EU Commission "Economic and productivity impact of eHealth".
The study will complement the analysis of the state of the art in assessment methodology of eHealth applications done by the study above.
The study will gather all available information about the economic impact of EHR and ePrescription systems. The choice of a method to measure the economic impact of these eHealth applications must be motivated in the adequate context:
The study will use participant questionnaire surveys to complement available information and to collect information from the selected sites. Also, the analysis may be complemented with stakeholders’ interviews, case studies on specific projects or clusters of projects/participants, as well as other data gathering and analysis methods, subject to approval by the Commission services.