WONCA Working Party on eHealth – new name, new plans

The WONCA Working Party on Informatics has changed its name to WONCA Working Party on eHealth (WWPEH). The new name reflects the wider scope of electronic tools, services and electronic health record functionalities that currently support the work of family physicians and patient-centered care across all care providers, and the rapidly growing field of digital services for patients and citizens.

The Working Party conducted a survey among its members and other WONCA groups on their expectations of what the Working Party should do and publish on its website. Read the results of the survey here. The most important item was describing the key functionalities that eHealth should provide for family doctors (rated 4.6/5), and the next most important item was defining the main competencies that family doctors need to use them (rated 4.3/5). We will develop the website accordingly.

Developing a new policy statement on eHealth also scored highly in the survey. We have therefore started updating the policy statement on how IT should support the family physician and primary health care.

If you have not received an e-mail containing the draft and wish to have a look and comment on it, please e-mail [email protected]. One topic that will be addressed in the policy statement will be data capture from practice software to central repositories for benchmarking and new knowledge generation. There has been intensive discussion within EQuiP on whether and how such data capture would be appropriate, acceptable, and useful, and the EQuiP policy statement on quality measurement could be updated at the same time.

Michael Kidd, the President of WONCA, has asked about our interest to develop a publication, similar to that of the WONCA Working Party on the Environment (Family Doctors in the Field), with a series of short reports from family doctor members of the working party from around the world on ways digital technology is transforming family medicine, and improving the quality and safety of our work. Let me know if you could write your story.

Collaboration with the WONCA International Classification Committee (WICC) was suggested by several respondents in the survey. At the WONCA Europe conference in Istanbul we plan to arrange a workshop on the uses and benefits of coding in clinical care together with members of WICC.

On Twitter, use #WONCAeHealth to share your ideas.

The Working Party is happy to invite new members. If you are interested in changing ideas on eHealth, please fill in the form on WONCA website.

Ilkka Kunnamo, Convenor of the Working Party, (Finland)