Lessons learned from the Coronavirus: useless information flows

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Many information systems, in particular territorial ones, are designed to perform administrative tasks and to generate mandatory data flows.

With the Covid-19 crisis, all the limitations of this approach have emerged. Take for example integrated home care. There are very few local health agencies that have a clinical picture of their home care providers who are among the most at risk.

The primary purpose of the present systems is to generate the SIAD flow and to allow the counting of home accesses for administrative tasks (payment of nurses and doctors working there). Even when present, the Individual Care Plan is aimed at planning interventions and controlling the services provided.

There are very few companies that own and manage a home care electronic medical record. At a time like this, where it would be really important to identify and profile at-risk individuals, supervise and monitor their clinical condition, most of the home care systems in use are not able to perform these functions.

What about the lack of integration with general practitioners? What about the continuity of care physicians? What about the 112?

The same reasoning also applies to other systems, such as prevention (was that patient vaccinated for pneumonia?), mental health, addictions and so on.

Even processes that have been computerised, such as drug prescriptions, have been designed solely for administrative tasks, i.e. monitoring expenditure. Imagine, for example, if in addition to checking the accounts, the various regional or central prescriptions repositories had, for example, shown an abnormal increase in antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory infections: we could have understood long beforehand that there was an increase in pneumonia.

Who knows whether, from this terrible crisis, we will learn the hard lesson that this pandemic is teaching us.

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