Spain E-Health Overview
Major changes in Spain’s eHealth environment offers opportunities for U.S. healthcare technologies.
Spain’s public healthcare crisis has paved the way to a modern healthcare system. Circumstances have accelerated the implementation of digital healthcare and the use of mobile devices for online consultation and telemedicine. An initial resistance on the part of end-users has given way to compliance. This is a major achievement particularly when the country is facing a major economic crisis.
The public and private sectors agree on the need for a stronger IT infrastructure to maintain an effective and efficient healthcare service. While internal information systems are in place, alignment and consolidation of the infrastructure is needed. The country´s universal public healthcare system is funded by the Central Government, yet each of the 17 regional governments, known as Autonomous Communities, is responsible for it’s management and corresponding budget. A conversion to electronic medical records (EMR) has supported all regions to implement systems to support electronic health records including electronic prescriptions.
An expected increase in Spain’s over-65 population from 18 percent to 30 percent by 2030 further activates the need for innovative programs and solutions. The role of e-health in helping to meet the country´s need to expand the healthcare infrastructure while improving services and personnel conditions is key. Integration of health service and regional health departments, demand for electronic prescriptions, scheduling tools, decision support systems, patient monitoring, supply chain management, telemedicine and telecare should also increase.
Funding will be the major challenge in the near and mid-term given the inordinate drain on resources by the healthcare crisis and on the overall economy. However, as budgets are administered regionally, scalable solutions are not possible. Additional challenges include: greater transparency and effectiveness in the delivery and reimbursement of cross-regional services; broadening the scope of telemedicine; increased buy-in by the healthcare professional community; reservations regarding confidentiality of patient data both by the patient and the professionals; data protection regulations.
U.S. companies that establish a local presence or identify a local partner as a means of participating in broader partnerships are best positioned for success. Many large U.S. and international companies already have a presence in Spain.
For additional information, please contact Helen Crowley, Healthcare Sector Specialist, CS Spain at firstname.lastname@example.org.