Benefits of using IHE
The right information for the right patient at the moment when it is needed.
Patient data accessed through secure, interoperable health IT systems that meet IHE core requirements and specifications enhances the quality of patient care, resulting in the following benefits:
- Safety through the reduction of medical errors
- Savings through lower implementation costs and more efficient workflow
Satisfaction through better informed medical decisions and faster results for both patient and clinician
Greater adoption of IHE in Europe brings benefits to Citizens, to Healthcare Providers, to Governments, and to Industry. IHE solutions can be used in many different settings, from single hospitals up to a (inter)national scale, in the next section the pan-European benefits are emphasized.
Benefits For Citizens.
The Situation. Europeans are a highly mobile people traveling freely, whether for work or vacations, between countries. In the course of a single day a European citizen might pass through several nations. And each European citizen carries health insurance provided by his or her country of residence. In the case of an accident or a health crisis, a citizen may be treated in a foreign country by nurses and doctors speaking a different language. How can the foreign doctor determine the medications being taken by this patient, or any allergies to medications? What is the medical history of this patient? And, of course, who is paying for the often-expensive emergency medical intervention?
Benefits of Common Health Data. A system for identification of patients shared across Europe enables a medical team to quickly locate records for a patient. Creating common data for emergency medical information and medications using IHE standards puts the right information in front of the right doctor at the right moment to assure the right treatment.
Benefits For Healthcare Providers
The Situation. Healthcare Providers, be it institutions like hospitals organizations or individual doctors and nurses are working with an increasing number of information systems, all containing relevant data on the patients they are working. Typically, these systems behave like “islands”, not sharing patient-related data between systems. This leads to broken work processes, the need for repetitive data entry (with risk of mistakes) and an incomplete view on the patient’s record. The same is true when caring for patients coming from abroad.
Benefits of Common Health Data. An integrated information system, with proper flow of information from one system to the other, puts the right information in front of the right doctor at the right moment to assure the right treatment. It’s that simple – and applies to local and foreign patients.
Benefits For Governments
The Situation. Some of Europe's largest countries are made up of autonomous regions with full authority over healthcare decisions and the information systems to support healthcare delivery. For example, Spain is made up of 9 autonomous health regions, while in Italy there are 21 independent regions, and Germany is a confederation of 16 Landers. Even large nations with a single national structure, such as France or England, have seen the development of diverse health information systems over the past 20 year built around regional university hospitals. This patchwork regional development of IT for healthcare in Europe has created different, sometimes stand-alone systems for healthcare. Even within regions documents created by clinical systems for patient care may not interface with administrative systems that determine payment or citizen entitlements for healthcare.
Benefits of Common Health Data. Much is at stake for European national governments who spend hundreds of billions of euros each year as the primary insurer of its citizens' healthcare. There is an urgency in Europe which has a rapidly aging population that soon will require greater health expenditure while the base for the model for health funding, the younger working population, is shrinking. These governments see a solution in health information systems that can deliver greater efficiency and productivity, as well as supporting alternative delivery of health services for the chronically ill through community-based clinics and in-home care.
Benefits For Industry
The Situation. Europe's governments, both national and regional, have worked with different suppliers from the private sector to develop equipment or software for stand-alone systems. While this has resulted in a robust base of expertise and solutions for health IT in Europe, an innovative system or successful solution developed by a company often can not be exported without significant changes to meet variations in standards and requirement in a neighboring country.
Benefits of Common Health Data. Adoption of common protocols and standards across Europe will create a more uniform market for health IT equipment, software and services enabling manufacturers to market their products at the European and even global level with only minor variations. In addition to helping to assure compatibility between systems, a harmonised market will also lower the costs of acquiring best practices solutions for governments and citizens. Greater adoption of IHE frameworks will also enable the IT industry based in Europe to compete internationally, thereby increasing employment and sustaining the development of this sector of activity in the European economy.