One important prerequisite for the delivery of high-quality healthcare services is the availability of high quality information to the public, patients, clinicians and other key users, including healthcare service planners.
“E-Health” is defined by the World health Organisation (WHO) as “the cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies in support of health and health-related fields, including health-care services, health surveillance, health literature, and health education, knowledge and research” and is seen as a very valuable and important contribution to the medical and health field.
The vision statement for 2015 for the E-Health Program is: “to improve overall health in Qatar and deliver healthcare of the highest standard by providing the public, patients and clinicians with appropriate and timely information”.
The vision aims to connect delivery of health services with the capabilities of modern information technologies to:
- Support the public through provision of up to date information about health and health care services
- Support the patient and the delivery of services designed around the patient, quickly, conveniently and seamlessly.
- Support staff through effective electronic communications, better learning and knowledge management, cut time to find essential information and make specialized expertise more accessible.
- Improve management and delivery of services by providing good quality data to support better care outcomes through quality improvements, clinical audit, governance and management information.
The anticipated outcomes of the e-Health vision include improved quality of care and improved efficiency of processes throughout the healthcare system by the use of national IT systems which include:
- Increasing awareness about health, well-being, self-care and the health care services available
- Improving overall patient safety and clinical governance
- Improving the patient experience and the quality of care and support services configuration with modern IT.
- Improving the capacity of the healthcare sector to deliver change and reform.
- Enabling Qatar’s healthcare sector to further improve working and clinical practices where appropriate
Priority projects include:
Policy Development - to cover a wide range of topics such as ethical and legal requirements, privacy and confidentiality, protocols for accessing and sharing data, ownership of data and so on.
Qatar National Health Card - The introduction of a National Health Card for all Qatari nationals and Qatar residents
Data Warehouse/Data Analytics Service - to collect data from all health care providers within the State of Qatar and provide this information for analysis, planning and reporting
Data Centre - to store all data associated with E-Health in a secure, resilient environment.
Provider – enabling projects – such as the procurement of hospital information systems and a clinical information system for primary health care
Shared Imaging Strategy (PACS) - the plan is to analyse current and planned diagnostic image use in Qatar and to develop the future strategy for sharing of images between organisations
The work will be taken forward by the new E-Health Department of the General Directorate of Policy under the leadership of the Director of E-Health and working alongside partners in other government departments and healthcare organisations