A few months ago I participated in a very interesting session in the seminar series “Current challenges in biomedical information technology” at Uppsala University. The invited speaker was Benny Eklund, IT Strategist, Uppsala county council. Benny’s work and initiatives – starting about 20 years ago – is probably the main reason why we have patient accessible electronic health records in most county councils in Sweden today (the few ones remaining will allow access before we leave 2017). See link to the filmed presentation below!
Åsa Cajander, who has collaborated with Benny for years introduced him before he began his presentation. As she reveals in the introduction students in one of her courses, “IT in society” played a very important role when they, during one of the course rounds, investigated future possibilities for medical records online in Sweden (a topic provided by Benny). The students’ work resulted in a white paper, which was presented in Brussels! Their work certainly helped in attracting necessary funding.
During the session Benny talked mostly about the early history of patient accessible electronic health records in Sweden, like e.g. important decisions made, the many barriers encountered as well as identified enablers and functions included. After listening to the talk it became more clear to me than before that there were many bumps in the road towards the system in use today. I really recommend you to watch the video – I’m convinced that the barriers and enablers brought up to discussion are relevant in many other countries as well where similar systems have been or are about to be introduced.