In Catalonia, Health IT Governance Rises Above the Political

In Catalonia, Health IT Governance Rises Above the Political

Healthcare Informatics interviews Mr. Francesc Garcia Cuyás, director of TIC Salut Social

Late last year, Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland met with Francesc Garcia-Cuyàs, director of the TIC Salut Social Foundation in Barcelona, to discuss some of the innovations taking place in Catalonia, and his perspectives on the Catalan, Spanish, and European healthcare IT development issues, and the comparisons between the Spanish and American situations, with regard to interoperability, health IT investment, and systems integration. Below are excerpts from that interview.

Mr. Garcia-Cuyàs, please tell me a bit about the governance and management aspects of the healthcare system in Catalonia, with regard to healthcare IT development and management?

In the Catalan healthcare system, each hospital has its own information system. But over the course of time, we have been creating full interoperability among all the hospitals in the region. We began an intensive IT harmonization initiative in 2006, and have been evolving it forward ever since.

We have developed a regional plan for digital health, a strategy for healthcare delivery, and for informatics. Our philosophy is that the technology must serve to support specific projects, as well as supporting digital transformation, and the patient experience, among other priorities. Our overall system encompasses both primary care information systems and medical specialty-based systems. And every hospital and outpatient center is able to share electronic health record-related data in our repository; all our hospitals, primary care clinics, and specialty medical practices, are connected. We have a national healthcare system that provides complete integration of EHRs, and allows for nationwide data-sharing, as appropriate. What’s more, all our local and patient care organization repositories are connected. Also, we’ll be moving everything to the cloud soon.

Meanwhile, in Catalonia, we’ve got 7.4 million patients in our regional system, with 18 percent of them over the age of 65, and 2 percent living with at least one chronic illness.

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