Catalonia plans open platform using openEHR

The region of Catalonia has started its journey towards an open platform using openEHR standards, by launching a Request for Information (RFI) process to support the components to be included in the tender.

In the call launched last week, the purpose outlined is to obtain technical information on the possibilities of supplying the elements of a technology platform for the development of the Electronic Health Record of Catalonia.

The announcement made by Jordi Piera Jiménez, Director of the Digital Health Strategy Office at the Catalan Health Service, states: “Given the technical complexity of the technological platform for the development of the Electronic Health Record and the need to finish defining its design and the components of the platform to be tendered, as well as to inform the economic operators active in the market of the need that has arisen, we proceed to carry out a preliminary market consultation.”

It proposes a new model for health records in Catalonia, to provide a functional and technical platform that takes a longitudinal vision of the lifecycle of an individual and their contacts and journey within the health system. It then hopes to remove any separation of information and knowledge between health and care services.

The announcement highlights that its current system for sharing information, which was initially introduced in 2009, poses a “barrier to the systematic use of health data”, with “semantic interoperability being probably the biggest problem”. It also notes that “inconsistency in the definitions of the clinical information models” and their “technical representation in the persistence models” has led the region to decide to base this new electronic health record on the international standard openEHR.

The health service states the new electronic health record will support collaboration and sustainability, as well as provide an opportunity for the technology sector.

It describes in the RFI the need for an architecture and repository based on accurate and standardised clinical language, with an investment of €40 million pledged to support the programme.

Jordi Piera Jiménez, Director of the Digital Health Strategy Office at the Catalan Health Service, commented: “Our rationale is that health systems around the world face a number of challenges that are common and that are somehow transforming a discipline as traditional as medicine. Demographic change, patient-centred care, urbanisation, the shift from reactive to proactive medicine, and the challenges associated with personalised medicine are some examples of the macro-trends that are affecting health systems on a global scale.

“In order to face these challenges and in turn accompany a model of health that is considered of excellence, the Health System of Catalonia began a period of strategic reflection in the field of digital transformation there in 2017. This process ended with the publication of the Digital Health Strategy of Catalonia in 2018 (The Digital Health Strategy for Catalonia). The proposed strategic framework consists of 15 lines of action that aim to turn the current health system upside down through digitalisation. If one had to define the main characteristic of this plan would be: “data-centric” (New Catalonian Digital Health Strategy: a presentation).”

The deadline for presenting submissions is 30 September 2021. For further information, please click here.

Earlier in the month HTN reported on the news from Digital Health and Care Wales, who awarded a two-year contract for a clinical data repository that will “help to transform care and treatment for patients”. Through its “open-platform approach”, patient records are to be shared between clinical systems through common standards, supporting specialised treatments and research.

Digital Health and Care Wales said the openEHR data platform was chosen following an 18-month review process, and will form a “constituent part” of the national architecture. Patient record applications such as the Welsh Clinical Portal (WCP) are expected to make use of the openEHR based CDR to “create and retrieve data”, which it is hoped will also strengthen the electronic health record in Wales.