A novel system architecture for the national integration of electronic health records: a semi-centralized approach

Asma AlJarullah, Samir El-Masri
Journal of Medical Systems 2013, 37 (4): 9953
The goal of a national electronic health records integration system is to aggregate electronic health records concerning a particular patient at different healthcare providers' systems to provide a complete medical history of the patient. It holds the promise to address the two most crucial challenges to the healthcare systems: improving healthcare quality and controlling costs. Typical approaches for the national integration of electronic health records are a centralized architecture and a distributed architecture. This paper proposes a new approach for the national integration of electronic health records, the semi-centralized approach, an intermediate solution between the centralized architecture and the distributed architecture that has the benefits of both approaches. The semi-centralized approach is provided with a clearly defined architecture. The main data elements needed by the system are defined and the main system modules that are necessary to achieve an effective and efficient functionality of the system are designed. Best practices and essential requirements are central to the evolution of the proposed architecture. The proposed architecture will provide the basis for designing the simplest and the most effective systems to integrate electronic health records on a nation-wide basis that maintain integrity and consistency across locations, time and systems, and that meet the challenges of interoperability, security, privacy, maintainability, mobility, availability, scalability, and load balancing.

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