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Adoption of Electronic Health Records in India – Roadmap for ICT Infrastructure

Adoption of Electronic Health Records in India is in an infant stage. To adopt it at the national level, the stakeholders need to take various steps. The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure need to be brought on the track primarily. The following tasks/activities need to be undertaken for the same.

electronic-health-records

Basic IT infrastructure: Public hospitals and dispensaries have very little ICT infrastructure with only major public hospitals such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) having computers and connectivity. Considering the large number of healthcare facilities in our country, a large investment in hardware and software is required.  It is necessary to use opensource software systems, mobile devices, and the cloud computing environment to reduce expenses.

National secure health net: Several countries have created communication networks connecting healthcare institutions to exchange health information in a secure, reliable way. To ensure the privacy and security of health information, adequate privacy and security mechanisms have to be implemented.

Health information storage and exchange infrastructure: This is required for the exchange of HER information among healthcare providers. The government needs to establish and maintain the exchange of a patient’s health records in partnership with the private sector.

Free and open-source EHR: It is necessary for the government to bring more than 75% of outpatients and more than 60% of inpatients being treated in private healthcare facilities on-board for using EHR. There is a need to take an open source software to making good quality software available to hospitals and individual practitioners which should also support all major national language scripts. Even local entrepreneurs can provide technical support if it is in the open source domain.

Personal health record system: Personal health record (PHR) plays a great role in adoption role of EHR, as the doctor does not have to start creating the record from scratch. The basic patient information can be directly received from PHR. Patients can approach hospitals they have never visited before once PHR is available, without worrying much about the interoperability issue.

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