NHS Scotland Updates eHealth Strategy

Following the announcement that NHS Scotland had selected Imprivata to provide single sign-on for all of its health workers across Scotland, the Scottish Government has published an update to their eHealth strategy for 2011-2017. Focused on five new strategic health initiatives, the strategy mandates that all health boards use technology to deliver more efficient and cost-effective health services, improve communication and availability of information, and increase patient safety.

Single sign-on, as well as other enabling technologies, is referenced within the strategy document and credited for simplifying clinician workflow and improving patient information security.

It is vitally important that people who receive healthcare services have confidence in eHealth systems and procedures to respect their privacy and handle their information properly. Single sign-on and audit tools are two key elements of the Information Assurance Strategy, and essential components of portal technologies (and electronic windows to information). Single sign-on removes the need for clinicians to enter multiple passwords to use different systems. Rules on who can access information are in place. NHSS organisations have monitoring systems in place that can identify who is looking; what they are looking at and where and when this activity takes place. Over the course of the strategy all territorial Health Boards will have introduced single sign-on for healthcare workers and have privacy breach detection tools, and we will have implemented an agreed Information Assurance Strategy and associated programme of work.

Does the NHS Scotland eHealth strategy represent a good framework for states in the US or other European countries? Could your hospital learn from Scotland’s strategic approach? What are some other good examples of eHealth strategies in use today? Send me your thoughts and comments.