Funding is top challenge for healthcare providers across Europe, reveals annual health IT report
TALLINN, ESTONIA - (HealthTech Wire / News) - Of those working in a healthcare facility, 62% of healthcare IT professionals reported that their organisation has insufficient IT budget for 2017/2018. While this number has seen a marginal decrease since last year’s survey (68%), there is still a strong need for investment in eHealth around Europe.
The report also highlights the diversity of the challenges faced by different European countries: while funding is perceived to be by far the biggest challenge in the UK (31%), Austria (30%), Ireland (28%) and Germany (15%), patient self-empowerment and self-management is the primary challenge for the Nordics (23%), the Netherlands (20%), and Spain (19%). In addition, interoperability standards are revealed as the biggest challenge in Italy (21%) and Switzerland’s biggest perceived challenge is EMR implementation (15%).
The findings come from the HIMSS Analytics Annual European eHealth Survey, supported by Hyland, where almost 600 healthcare and IT professionals from across Europe provided their views in order to shape the digital agenda going forwards.
The results were announced during “Health in the Digital Society. Digital Society for Health” conference in Tallinn, Estonia organised by the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs as part of Estonia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, ECHAlliance and HIMSS Europe.
A need to improve leadership skills
These numbers, coupled with the perceived insufficiency of IT budgets, help to explain why healthcare organisations across Europe rate their digital maturity as just six out of 10. They also demonstrate why there is a significant appetite to improve leadership skills amongst eHealth professionals from all types of organisations and from all countries in order to bring about change and enhance the delivery of a high level of digital maturity.'
Stephen Bryant, Managing Director for HIMSS Europe commented on the findings: “This year’s results show that while the value and strength of health IT is perceived positively among mainline European professionals, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of investment, developing digital maturity, and opportunities for leadership development. Whilst issues around funding have been prevalent for some time, leadership skills development is, perhaps, the most relevant finding of this year’s survey, as it shows a growing desire for eHealth professionals to move into the boardroom and affect change at a whole new level.
“It was also interesting to see how priorities for healthcare organisations are changing. Whilst data exchange dominated the responses last year, EMR implementation was shown to be the biggest eHealth priority for healthcare providers in Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy, patient access to information topped the bill in the Netherlands and data exchange with external partners was the most important only in Spain and the Nordics.”
'A shift towards the patient'
Cathy Fuhrman, EMEA Healthcare Industry Manager with Hyland, said: “It is to be welcomed that this survey has shown a shift towards the patient. Patient health records, which are owned and managed by citizens, and patient self-monitoring tools, look set to be the next major trend in eHealth and healthcare providers are going to have to meet the inherent challenges that come with this development. A critical factor for individual organisations will be the need to ensure sufficient interoperability and flexibility in their own IT systems, so that they can meet customers' demands for greater control over their data.
“At the same time, this year's survey shows that relatively few European healthcare facilities appear to be giving IT the focus and financial investment required to meet these challenges. However, where digital technologies are adopted wholeheartedly, with buy-in throughout an organisation, they should ultimately have a positive effect on costs.
"The implementation of electronic patient records, which is widespread in the NHS, has proved to be of significant value to practitioners, allowing a greater level of care to be provided throughout the patient journey. What's more, technology is an enabler of efficiencies and IT investments will ultimately pay for themselves, as a result of the time they save staff and the better standard of care they allow.
To read the full results of the survey, please visit www.himss.eu/AnnualSurvey
559 people were surveyed around Europe (68 in Germany, 36 in Austria, 65 in Switzerland, 66 in the Netherlands, 22 in Belgium, 23 in Denmark, 27 in Norway, 16 in Sweden, 30 in Finland, 13 in France, 10 in Greece, 36 in the United Kingdom, 39 in Ireland, 33 in Italy, 58 in Spain and 17 in other countries). 42% of respondents work in a health-facility, 11% work in a governmental health authority. The full results of the survey are available at: www.himss.eu/AnnualSurvey.
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