1. Have you ever observed a health informatics project in your (other) organization? Please provide a brief introduction.
The Hong Kong Government has launched a health informatics project known as the Electronic Health Record Sharing System (eHealth) to provide an electronic platform that aims to build free and lifelong electronic health records for all citizens. Participants can voluntarily choose to share their health data or not, and their health records will be stored in encrypted electronic format after consent is given. The health records would then be accessible to all healthcare providers in Hong Kong, and the participant could also view their own records through an app.
2. How can this health informatics project help to improve the current practices?
Before eHealth was developed, there was poor coordination between public and private healthcare services providers. Say if a patient received care and treatment from a public hospital but visit a private clinic afterwards, the private clinic wouldn’t know because there is no communication between the public and private sector. This gives extra pressure to the patient to recount his treatment and diagnosis on his own to the private clinic, or have to bring a bunch of hard-copy documents from the public hospital. The establishment of the system enabled two-way data sharing among public and private healthcare providers, providing tremendous convenience for the patient, and a lower chance of mistreatment due to inaccurate data.
3. Are there any challenges or difficulties in implementing the project?
Yes. First, the government failed to publicize and educate the public about this new system. So, when the system first came out, no one knows what it is and are reluctant to give consent to provide their medical data to a system that they have never heard of. Second, a lot of healthcare providers are resistant to change. They are used to the old way of doing things, and do not want to install and learn about a new system.