We live in the digital era, nowadays there are interconnected devices that let us be in constant communication with other people, they also give us the ability to search for useful information to mobilize us, help us acquire products, compare services, carry our finances, work and access to entertainment. Today more than ever it has become evident that there is a need to incorporate these technologies in health care administration.

Initially, around the year 80, the medical community felt that implementing computing technologies in health care administration was a great idea but it was beyond the economic possibilities of society, which was very difficult to implement and very costly to medical practices. However this is changing rapidly, hospitals appreciate the value of collecting and analyzing information that helps them understand what is happening day to day at the operational level. On the other hand, individuals count with devices that are more compact and affordable in price, which in recent years have increased exponentially its processing power and connectivity.

There are multiple global initiatives to migrate to new health administration technologies. In 2011 there are at least 23 countries which are at top of list on the development of electronic medical records, innovating in strategies for its implementation.

The next table lists alphabetically the countries and their initiatives to establish a national system of electronic medical records. The table mentioned the assigned name of the initiative and related information from which we have information at this time.

Countries at the Forefront of Digital Medical Records
Country Initiative Description
  Germany GEMMATIK 2000 million EUR planned: PHR managed by citizens and system e-health national connected through VPNs and centralized services of special infrastructure. Health Smart Card drivers currently in large-scale, which allow access to services, administration, etc.
  Saudi Arabia    
  Argentina ELECTRONIC HEALTH DELIVERY Using Open Source software and PDAs
  Australia HEALTH CONNECT Developing the framework for National Info. The tests began in 2004 and continued to be made. Broadband for health program. Funding: AUD 128 million.
  Brazil RED TELEMED Connection of rural areas and selected hospitals.
  Canada HEALTH

1200 million committed. Total estimated cost for the 2015 10-12000 million EHR deployment at the provincial level. Interoperable EHR solutions linking all points of care.

Objective: 50% of Canadians with EHR for 2010. Since 2001 227 projects in selected areas of the program system diagnostic imaging, drug information system, structure Info, innovation and adoption, interoperable EHR, laboratory information system, public health surveillance, records, telesalud.

  Chile   Project of national health card, several initiatives of telesalud.
  Colombia ELECTRONIC HEALTH DELIVERY Using Open Source software and PDAs.
  South Korea    
  Denmark SUNDHED.DK National portal of health launched in December of 2003 single point of access for citizens and professionals, health information, communication, such as prescriptions, lab results. More than 3 million of EDI documents sent per month (80% traffic).
  United Arab Emirates    
  United States of America NHIN Y RHIOS $540 Million invested by the state governments/ONCHIT NHIN Architecture, control by RHIOS test results e-viewing, EHR, OPOE, on-line communications secure, e-prescribing
  France CARTEE DE PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTÉ In 1983 replaced the SESAM insurance card - vitalle roll out large-scale data, started in 2007 roll-out of Dossier Medical Personnel DMP estimated at 10 million euros. National EHR program based on the web
  Hong Kong   Master Index of patients for the entire territory
  Malaysia LRH Lifetime Health Record for 2010
  México CENETEC - SALUD National Centre * National Center Ecellence Health Technology Participation in HL7 the Mexican chapter.
  New Zealand HINZ EHR system nationally implemented
  United Kingdom NHS CONNECTING FOR HEALTH Managing a national program for IT June 2006: revised estimates updated the cost in 12400 million pounds in 10 years. Independent initiatives in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales (Informing Healthcare).
  Sweden SWEDEN CARELINK Carelink was created to itself in 2000 Network of optical fiber Sjunet that allows a sure exchange of images of information of patients (Not Internet) Stage Elak piloted for EHRs, eprescriptions approximately 55 %, National Portal of Health for citizens.

This list change and grows constantly; the initiatives to implement an Electronic Medical Records system have moved beyond the developed countries to include countries in East Asia, Middle East and Central America among others.

It is important to do an analysis of the events for which these countries have been highlighting that:

  • They all have had a different starting points
  • Each one is using a group of different strategies to implant their solution
  • Each one has created his own way in the technological development
  • Each one moves at his own pace

They all are doing efforts to reach the same target, a better care of the health for the population.

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a document, Atlas eHealth Country Profile 2011, which qualifies the countries with regard to their advances for the development of an Electronic Medical Records system at national level, in which there are all the subjects that this project involves from adjustments in laws, up to programs dedicated to the public health.