The problems with e-health are similar the world over, says analyst

The US government’s healthcare portal is facing some challenges, and users are still having problems signing up for insurance under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. Unattainable deadlines, scalability issues and politicians squabbling have all taken their share of the blame, but according to Charlotte Davies, lead analyst at Ovum’s Healthcare Life Sciences Team, these problems are encountered the world over whenever governments look to invest in e-health.

“The portal has suffered from the usual lack of infrastructure to process all the requests. That is not a unique problem,” she said.

In general e-healthcare initiatives will need a political consensus and well-thought-out deadlines to be successful, which the US project lacked. The Universal Credit welfare reform project by the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK has been under fire over similar concerns.

According to Davies, other common problems include: bad architecture, lack of user involvement and procuring systems which are not flexible enough. She also argues that the software industry should take its share of the blame. She said: “Traditional vendors who have sold bespoke software packages have tended to market and sell proprietary systems that require a lot of customisation and aren’t very flexible.”


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