Digital Maturity Helps in the Fight Against Pandemics

In the face of such an unprecedented storm in the form of a pandemic, the need for information sharing, collaboration and rapid system development took on new urgency. There are truly remarkable examples globally of healthcare providers’ agility and innovation.

In the Middle East, which is the primary focus of this issue of the HIMSS Insights eBook, we can see a wealth of case studies that demonstrate the essential role played by interoperability in the development of new patient services and information sharing. Many of these healthcare organizations have been pioneers in achieving high levels of digital maturity measurement using HIMSS Analytics Maturity Models, including INFRAM and EMRAM.

Projects that would have previously been allocated months, even years of planning, testing and implementation, were rolled out in days and weeks. Clinicians and technologists worked together like never before, galvanized by the ultimate goal of safeguarding privacy and providing patient care at a time of huge stress on health systems. Their efforts were a noble complement to the extraordinary success of the vaccination programs that have proved vital in containing the flow of the virus.

Now we are in a unique phase of transformation, with value-based care a primary objective.  It is possible to take stock of this wealth of recent experience and apply it to the systems that will emerge through the building of the Health Information Exchanges that will enable true information sharing—not just within institutions and among partner organizations—but ultimately also across borders. And this means that interoperability, and the agreement of standards that provide commonality across digital maturity models, will become increasingly important.

This issue contains articles that focus specifically on measuring investment in digital infrastructure and maturity, while also assessing the importance of interoperability and standards, including the challenges that must be overcome.

We will put these themes in context with some of the initiatives and models that are coming together in Europe. Additionally, learn how places like Australia and Hong Kong pushed digital health technology to the forefront when they put it at the heart of their public health responses during the pandemic.

This is a great time to observe how working with interoperability in mind from the ground up helps to create an integrated care landscape in which public and private institutions can share information in more innovative ways.

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