Canada Health Infoway’s plans for highly-centralized electronic health records (EHR) systems within each province containing patient records that can be shared nationwide may not be feasible, a chorus of experts says.
That “shared record” model which Infoway has adopted was in large part discredited and discarded in the United Kingdom, note the critics, who say that inadequate consultation with the medical community has also been a key problem in the development of the system. They suggest Infoway has forged a “Soviet-type” over-centralized approach based on a top-down vision of a “federated set” of “health information data warehouses” with highly centralized access to “shared records” (figure 2, EHRS BLUEPRINT).
Infoway’s strategy has delivered few independently-verified benefits to patients or health care providers, and may not even be achievable as designed, the analysts say.
“Massive centralized systems almost always fail,” warned Norman Archer, ehealth policy analyst with the eBusiness Research Centre at McMaster University.