Survey 2009 figures
Management of patient information
Access to patient information plays a vital role in the provision of effective clinical care by health professionals. Diagnosis and treatment can be improved if health professionals have easy access to accurate and comprehensive medical records of patients.
However, some countries are unable to routinely collect and store patient information due to lack of staff resources and time. Others create paper records which can be difficult to manage and are not portable. Many countries are now introducing Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health Records (EMR / EHR)* to improve the management of patient information, enhance health care services, and allow for rapid communications between health care providers. One of the critical factors for success of EMR/EHR is interoperability. Interoperability is the ability of different information systems and applications to communicate, exchange data accurately, effectively, and consistently, and to process the information that has been exchanged.
* Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health Records (EMR / EHR) are often referred to interchangeably and will be interchangeable for the purpose of this survey. An EMR/EHR is a real-time longitudinal electronic record of an individual patient's health information that can assist health professionals with decision-making and treatment. Data found in a record may include patient demographics, past medical history, vital signs, examination and progress notes, medications, allergies, immunizations, laboratory test results, radiology reports, living wills, and a health power of attorney. It can be made rapidly available through ICT to authorized personnel providing patient care in different locations including across national boundaries. It can also support the collection of data for other uses such as billing, quality management, public health disease surveillance and reporting.