State of Sharing Clinical Information in a Healthcare System in the Gulf

State of Sharing Clinical Information in a Healthcare System in the Gulf

Khaled M. Khan (Qatar University, Qatar)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/ijrqeh.2012070104
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Abstract

The main objectives of this paper are to study the extent of automation and the state of sharing of clinical data in out-patient services of a healthcare sector in the Gulf. Based on the findings, it proposes a framework to improve the current automation process further. The paper focuses mainly on how the patients’ clinical data in the local primary health centers (PHCs) and the main hospitals in a Gulf country are stored electronically, and how the clinical data are shared among all major stakeholders. It is anticipated that the proposed framework will significantly reduce the duplication of data and services as well as reduce the use of paper files significantly. The healthcare decision makers will be able to access the relevant data in order to provide best practices and decision supports. It also promotes data sharing among all stakeholders, hence improve healthcare services.
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Introduction

Qatar is a tiny developing country in the Gulf, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the larger Arabian Peninsula. In July 2010, the country had a growing population of approximately 1.6 million. Qatar is one of the promising countries in the region in terms of development activities and quality of life style. It has recently started for massive investment in its infrastructure development. Under the leadership of His Highness the Emir of Qatar, the healthcare sector in the State of Qatar has come a long way to provide the most advanced medical equipments as well as expand the cover of health services all over the country through a wide network of hospitals and well-equipped primary healthcare centers (PHCs). Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC, http://www.hmc.org.qa/hmcnewsite/). This will double the current inpatient capacity of the public hospitals. The public healthcare system is generously funded by the Government of Qatar.

The e-Health arena has received significant exposure in different countries. It is a field referring to health services, information delivered and enhanced through the Internet technologies (Eysenbach, 2001). E-Health uses various applied technologies that collectively provide all stakeholders with the easy access and sharing of clinical information (Wilson et al., 2004). The e-health is of particular relevance within Qatar because currently the healthcare system in Qatar is undergoing major overhaul. E-health promises to deliver various aspects of functionality such as the electronic records of all patients, electronic prescription of drugs, electronic access to and sharing of the patients' clinical data by the authorized practitioners (Milberg et al., 2004). An integrated e-health system digitizes healthcare related data allowing digital transmission from one authorized stakeholder to other, and manipulation of the data for the benefits of all stakeholders (Agarwal et al., 2004).

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