More than half of European hospitals underfund IT, HIMSS Analytics finds

Providers in other countries have similar challenges and priorities to the U.S., but there are some differences as well.
By Tom Sullivan
12:08 PM
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HIMSS Analytics

As European healthcare providers deploy some of the same big-ticket technologies as their American counterparts, notably EHRs, patient engagement and eHealth tools, many are operating with tight IT budgets.  

“Health IT is not sufficiently funded and supported in Europe,” said Robert Brauer, HIMSS Analytics Research and Quality Assurance Coordinator with HIMSS Europe.

Sixty-two percent of the health IT workers who participated in HIMSS Analytics Annual European eHealth Survey, in fact, said their shop has an insufficient budget for 2017 and 2018. Even though that is down from 68 percent in last year’s survey, HIMSS Analytics said it points to a strong need for more tech investments.

“Some countries like Italy or Spain are going through financial crisis or just overcome those,” Brauer said. “For Germany I also could confirm the lack of central direction and support toward a strong eHealth Agenda.”

Funding is the biggest obstacle in the UK, Austria, Ireland and Germany. But Spain, the Netherlands and Nordics ranked patient self-empowerment and self-management as the top challenge, while Italy cited interoperability standards and Switzerland named EMR implementation as its highest hurdle.

“You do have countries which are doing pretty well in terms of EMR adoption like Turkey, Spain, Netherlands and first of all Denmark or Estonia,” Brauer said.

European hospitals’ list of challenges invariably rings familiar to many American hospital IT pros, as will the top priorities HIMSS Analytics found for the year ahead: EMR implementation, eHealth and patient engagement, and a desire to develop leadership skills.

Along with the similarities, however, there are substantive distinctions between the U.S. and Europe.

“Many European countries have their own agendas, budgets and issues in terms of digitization,” Brauer said.

Below is the full data, courtesy of HIMSS Europe:

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com