“The HL7 standard, initially adopted in the United States, has subsequently been adopted by most European countries,” explains Frost & Sullivan (healthcareIT.frost.com) Research Analyst Vinod S.M. “European legislation emphasises the need for stable IT infrastructure and for improved patient data safety.”
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Government investments supporting strong and widely connected IT platforms in various hospitals coupled with initiatives encouraging the implementation of healthcare IT standards are also driving patient data safety across the European healthcare industry.
“Healthcare IT infrastructure has reached a stage where all the platforms are mostly integrated, thereby aiding in the process of interoperability,” adds Mr. Vinod. “During the course of this integration, vendors will be required to ensure data privacy and protection.”
Despite these promising trends, concerns related to data protection and IT security together with the issue of achieving compatibility of varied data formats pose major challenges to patient data safety in Europe.
“Electronic heath records pose security and privacy problems,” elaborates Mr. Vinod. “The degree of access is a major factor associated with this challenge where determining the level of access to be given to each individual creates problems for vendors.”
Each department within an organisation stores data in different formats. Incompatible data formats within departments will present difficulties until interoperability is achieved.
Industry participants should look at standardising data formats and ensuring that only authorised individuals have access to patient data. Partnering with local organisations will also be critical to resolving significant issues related to patient data safety.
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