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Archive for 15 octubre 2010

There has been a lot of effort put into designing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) in almost every country that regards the use of ICT as a cornerstone of health in general and e-health in particular. EHR becomes, under this perspective, a panacea for almost all ills that affect our National Health Systems (NHS).

As far as I know, the effort and the money spent on such an undertaking have not been rewarded with a very high return of success. Nevertheless, so much money and time have been spent on its development that, nowadays, EHR could fall more into the category of placebo.  The effect is that those in positions of responsibility in the NHS can pretend to be doing something without doing any real harm to the system.

The reason could be found in the narrowness of the approach. It is a fact that the interest and objectives of practitioners in hospitals and those of family doctors have in common exactly NOTHING.

Family doctors or general practitioners (GP) have customers for life: they start caring for them shortly after they are born and “get rid of them” when signing their death certificate. A specialist in a hospital has a different approach: the trend is to tend the customer for as short a time as possible; a “vini, vidi, vinci” kind of approach.

Why don´t we stop wasting our time and money and recognize that those two groups of health practitioners, paraphrasing Sue and Ray Bohlin, perfectly fit the description of “specialists are from Mars, GP’s are from Venus”?

Maybe we could then start thinking of a different approach and distinguish between the specialist’s needs as opposed to those of GP’s (and other social and health service providers) who take care of us our entire lives. 

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