Health and Wellness trends around the world and the emergence of Electronic Health Records(EHR)

Pace of development is increasing across the world thanks to greater innovations that affect every facet of human life. This has great impact on the way people live, work and take care of their health.

As the society is moving more and more into an information driven one, physical work is getting replaced with mental work. This, while reducing the physical exercise that is required to keep our body health, is also increasing our mental stress, causing the emergence of a new phenomenon called lifestyle diseases – diabetes, hypertension, depression, mental stress etc.

With the emergence of increased instances of lifestyle related conditions, modern healthcare is becoming more about managing these conditions and less about treatment of diseases caused by pathogens and infections. Such health condition management is generally of long duration, often lifelong and requires the collection, management and analysis of the person’s lifelong health information and it’s trends.

Many countries across the world have recognized this need for lifelong clinical information of their citizens and have implemented Electronic Health Records (EHR) policies & guidelines. EHR is defined as “A person’s Lifelong Holistic Health History, intended to be used for improvement of the overall health and wellbeing of the person”.

2016 Report of the third global survey on eHealth by World Health Organization(WHO) reports that “There has been steady growth in the adoption of national EHR systems over the past 15 years – and a 46% global increase in the past five years”. Currently the countries with the highest EHR adoption rates are: Norway (98 percent), Netherlands (98 percent), United Kingdom (97 percent), New Zealand (97 percent), Australia (92 percent), Germany (82 percent), United States (69 percent), France (67 percent), Canada (56 percent) and Switzerland (41 percent). EHR adoption is gathering pace and continues to expand around the world.

Indian government has initiated the process of EHR adoption with the publication of its EHR standard in August 2013 and second revision in December 2016. It has also initiated the formation of National e-Health Authority (NEHA), to manage the EHR policies and guidelines for the country.

EHR policies and guidelines are intended to help agencies working on improving overall health and wellness of people. By being EHR compliant, they can ensure that their work complements the other health related activities of the person and provide them lifelong benefit. Further, by systematically managing and analysing the health data generated during their work, the agency can bring in systematic improvement to their programs and make them more effective. Such information also allows them to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work and improve participation.