Telematics and smart cards in integrated health information system.Stud Health Technol Inform. 1997; 43 Pt A:226-31.SH
Telematics and information technology are the base on which it will be possible to build an integrated health information system to support population and improve their quality of life. This system should be based on record linkage of all data based on the interactions of the patients with the health structures, such as general practitioners, specialists, health institutes and hospitals, pharmacies, etc. The record linkage can provide the connection and integration of various records, thanks to the use of telematic technology (either urban or geographical local networks, such as the Internet) and electronic data cards. Particular emphasis should be placed on the introduction of smart cards, such as portable health cards, which will contain a standardized data set and will be sufficient to access different databases found in various health services. The inter-operability of the social-health records (including multimedia types) and the smart cards (which are one of the most important prerequisites for the homogenization and wide diffusion of these cards at an European level) should be strongly taken into consideration. In this framework a project is going to be developed aiming towards the integration of various data bases distributed territorially, from the reading of the software and the updating of the smart cards to the complete management of the patients' evaluation records, to the quality of the services offered and to the health planning. The applications developed will support epidemiological investigation software and data analysis. The inter-connection of all the databases of the various structures involved will take place through a coordination center, the most important system of which we will call "record linkage" or "integrated database". Smart cards will be distributed to a sample group of possible users and the necessary smart card management tools will be installed in all the structures involved. All the final users (the patients) in the whole network of services involved will be monitored for the duration of the project. The system users will also include general practitioners, social workers, physicians, health operators, pharmacists, laboratory workers and administrative personnel of the municipality and of the health structures concerned.