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Seeing the World as a Network – EHR System in Mexico

by on March 19, 2013

Last week I sent the first of a series of introductions to the partner organization leaders. I will continue that soon. This week I am introducing another series: activities that have been completed and closed. As we approach the end of this phase of the project, we are wrapping up our work. In doing so, there is much to celebrate.

Beatriz Plaza (UNC) and a group from Tulane (Mark Diana, David Hotchkiss, and Eva Silvestre) concluded in September 2012 a case study of the implementation of an electronic health records (EHR) system in Colima, Mexico. (They are pictured here at a meeting with their Mexican colleagues).

Advocates of EHRs say they can improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care, even in countries with low levels of economic development. However, much has been assumed about EHRs and little has been studied.

The MEASURE Evaluation study (available here online) showed that, in Colima, EHRs were used primarily for two of the government’s main health and social development programs. Challenges to its success were physicians’ resistance, lack of resources to maintain the system, and pressure from federal programs to establish parallel (duplicative) information systems. The study showed that an electronic solution is not enough. Also needed are adequate funding and political commitment. The lessons of Colima are important for other areas considering the move to an electronic system. Not to discourage them, but to help them prepare fully for successful implementation.

Jim

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