Konstantin Chebotaev Konstantin Chebotaev

"Dead season” would be a misnomer for July of 2011. Instead of shelving international efforts to enjoy well-deserved summer vacations, Koch-Metchnikow-Forum is pushing for more: At invitation of KMF, Russian Health Ministry (IT Department), Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and IT-leaders of the city of Novosibirsk went to Germany.  5 days packed with visits to hospitals in Giessen and Berlin, meetings with German Health Ministry representatives and health IT businesses.

Apart from the expected – the strengthening of collaborations and learning from each other – the overarching message seemed to be "now that things finally got moving in Russian health IT, strong German players in the field are welcome.”  As counter-intuitive as that might sound toward internal Russian businesses, the strategic reasoning is clear – grass roots movements and local initiatives are about to receive tangible funds to network the existing silos and build interoperable information systems from scratch. 

In practical terms though, with the low entrance prices dominating the evolving HIS and EHR market, local health IT developers assumed a conformist attitude – quilt-like solutions over investing into robust precedents, minimal profits right now over long strategy benefit planning. And who would blame them – the mood of the decade still remains close-range tactics with so many promising business colossi reduced to dust since early 90s. 

Be that as it may, we are not pushing for realistic standards in interoperability - a blatant deficit that international players with industrial solutions could eliminate faster than slow internal evolution. Minor vendors still make up the world, but they don’t have the muscle to flex over time in the environment where steady profits are the light at the end of the tunnel, not the train tracks taking you there. 
Not that we are not trying to help. April 29, 2011 the updated version of IT Strategy for Healthcare was approved by the Russian Ministry of Health.  The precise name of the document is "The Concept for Creation of the Common Information Environment in the System of Healthcare of the Russian Federation.”  This is one of the first major documents out of the Health IT Department under Mr. Dubinin, an update the local community has been waiting for.  Previous iterations of the Strategy have been found numerous faults with, to the point that its last revision under Mr. Dubinin’s predecessor was stalled and never saw the light of day. 

Expectations are heightened by the emergent transformation of the previously lethargic political will into tangible financing, with funds in excess of 29 billion rubles allotted toward health IT modernization. The document we are presenting for your attention (English translation) states the overarching strategy and is of a high level of abstraction. If you are interested in a more in-depth look at the current state of health IT in Russia, please contact Medical Center for Information and Analysis of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

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