Developing an E-Health Strategy

A Commonwealth Workbook of Methodologies, Content and Models

image of Developing an E-Health Strategy

Because e-health is a core resource for healthcare systems, every country needs good policies, strategies and plans, both for information and communication technology (ICT), and for the associated organisational changes that support improved health and healthcare. E-health is this combination of ICT and organisational change. This book will help health system decision-makers identify key policy issues in developing an e-health strategy and make the right decisions about the way forward. It is designed to be used in workshops with a team of people from many different backgrounds, such as senior civil servants responsible for health, ICT and finance, doctors, nurses, healthcare managers, ICT managers and suppliers. A team like this often has different views and ideas and using the workbook can help to put these together. Readers can use the workbook in many different ways: as a checklist for the agenda and topics for the team. They can use the parts that are most important to them and their work, and can add to the templates so they fit their precise needs better. Because e-health is not a single project with a fixed timescale and permanent solution, the effort and investment needed has many parts. It is complex, it changes constantly, and it is continuous. The workbook covers all the topics that will need to be addressed.



A step-by-step approach to policy development

Two types of e-health investment are known as ‘big bang’ and ‘step-by-step’. In e-health, big bang is not a good idea. It incurs high costs and carries high risks. A big picture is essential for a step-by-step approach that breaks your activities into short-term, medium- term and long-term timescales. E-health is complicated and inherently high risk, so breaking it down into manageable chunks, or a jigsaw, makes sense. However, the step-by-step approach extends investment timescales, which is also inherently risky, so this form of investment does not reduce risk but acts as a way for you to manage risk. It also helps with affordability by spreading the costs over several years. Inevitably, the step-by-step approach defers the benefits too. It also requires sustainable polices that support the large-scale picture.


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