Information & Communication Technology and Governance in the Healthcare sector in the City of Vienna
The implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) in the healthcare sector is met by many challenges. Next to ensuring the confidentiality of patient data, it is important to integrate different data systems and manage the networking between various hospitals and health organizations.
In the last years the city of Vienna has invested strongly in the introduction of ICT programs in the healthcare sector. Two such examples are the digital health insurance and treatment card (E-card) and digital imaging data storage systems, such as the so-called “Picture Archiving and Communication Systems” (PACS). A key aspect of the Austrian healthcare reform of 2013 is the commitment to maintain high quality standards, with ICT playing a central role in health care facilities, hospitals, laboratories, X-ray institutes, as well as the ELGA program. System compatibility is essential for the free flow of information.
The healthcare sector is generally characterized by highly institutionalized decision-making structures. While these structures are effective for the procurement and implementation of “stand-alone” medical products, such as hygiene articles or hospital beds, they are not well-suited to effectively manage complex products and systems with emergent, customizable and connected properties such as ICTs, which demand much more flexibility.
There are currently only few detailed studies on the use, implementation and governance aspects of ICT in Vienna‘s healthcare system. This project aims to identify ICT applications in Vienna’s healthcare system and discuss their interrelations with other systems and other aspects of the city through the means of interviews. It will be examined which organizations, institutions and processes regulate the procurement, implementation and use of ICT in the Viennese healthcare system. By identifying obstacles the project hopes to make a contribution to increased efficiency and effectiveness of ICT in Vienna’s healthcare system.