In recent years, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have gained an increasing role as key enablers of health care reform, to improve access to health services, quality of care, and health system productivity. ICTs and the new models of care they represent require, however, a major shift from traditional practices. Change is therefore fraught with difficulties. Indeed, it is fair to say that while the potential gains from greater use of these technologies have been apparent for years, most countries are still facing major implementation and adoption challenges, and their use in the health sector lags behind many other parts of the economy.
As a result, there is an increasing need for reliable data and indicators to help governments design and evaluate ICT policies and strategies, compare their progress with that of other countries, and adopt solutions for meaningful and equitable use of these technologies.
Recognising this increasing need for internationally comparable health ICT statistics, the OECD in 2010 launched a project on “Benchmarking ICTs in health systems”, a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the availability and quality of health ICT data and indicators.
The longer-term intent is to establish a robust measurement framework with cross-national measures that would be collected and published on an on-going basis through the OECD.
An Expert Group representing 30 countries, including India, Brazil, and Egypt, the European Commission, the World Health Organisation and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee has been established to provide input and supervise this activity.
As part of this activity, the OECD held a first workshop on January 30-31, 2012 in Paris. View the agenda.
About the Workshop
This invitation-only workshop was co- sponsored by the US Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Commonwealth Fund. The aims of the workshop were to:
- Consider the policy questions/issues that can guide international benchmarking of adoption and use of ICTs in the health sector
- Review lessons learnt across OECD countries about the challenges to measurement and compare some of the disparate sources and data on the subject
- Assess existing indicators and statistics in terms of the methodologies and definitions used as well as consider the quality of the data available
- Discuss and agree a framework for the selection of internationally comparable indicators
- Discuss and agree a priority list of core indicators for benchmarking health ICT availability and use internationally
- Discuss the availability and sources of data in relation to the agreed list of core indicators
The Workshop brought together over 90 experts from 33 delegations.
The OECD built on discussions at the workshop to identify priorities and agree on next steps. Seventeen OECD countries and four non-OECD countries, the World Health Organisation, the European Commission and the Business Industry Advisory Committee agreed to further work on the development of the agreed core indicators, a subset of which will be tested by pilot countries in 2012.
Within the OECD , this work is supervised by and reports back to the Health Committee and the Committee on Information Computer Communication Policy. It is carried out in close collaboration with the European Commission and the World Health Organisation.
This work is carried out by Elettra Ronchi (OECD) in close cooperation with Dr Ashish Jha of Harvard University School of Public Health.
This project builds upon previous work of the OECD on case studies of the use of ICTs in the health sector.
For further reading, see the OECD Observer article E-ffective healthcare (©OECD Observer, No.278, March 2010).
Released in June 2010: Improving Health Sector Efficiency: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies, OECD Health Policy Studies, OECD, Paris.
Ms Elettra Ronchi, email@example.com.
Visit the OECD website to learn more about OECD work on ICT and on health.
Permanent URL: http://www.oecd.org/health/ict
OECD-NSF Workshop: Building a Smarter Health and Wellness Future