Appl Clin Inform 2010; 01(04): 363-376
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2010-07-CR-0041
Case Report
Schattauer GmbH

Lessons Learned from Implementation of Information and Communication Technologies in Spain’s Healthcare Services

Issues and Opportunities
J. Carnicero
1   Observatory of the National Health System. Ministry of Health and Social Policy
D. Rojas
2   Spain; Independent Consultant, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received: 20 July 2010

accepted: 02 October 2010

Publication Date:
16 December 2017 (online)


Background: Spain’s health services have undertaken a number of important projects aimed at the creation of Electronic Health Records (EHR) through the incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into patient care practices. The objective of this endeavor is to improve care quality and efficiency and increase responsiveness to the population‘s needs and demands. Between 2006-2009 over 300 million Euro were invested in projects of this type.

Objective: To better understand the success criteria, the difficulties encountered and certain issues that must be kept in mind to ensure successful implementation of ICT projects in health organizations, based on Spain‘s experiences in this field.

Methods: The projects’ results are analyzed using the criteria of compliance with the expected scope, cost and time frame.

Results: The results can be considered satisfactory in primary care facilities, where almost 90% of Spain‘s general practitioners, pediatricians and primary care nurses are using electronic health record (EHR) systems. In hospitals EHR implementation is more uneven. Over 40% of Spanish primary care centers and 42% of pharmacies are using electronic prescription (the information system that connects the physician to the dispensing pharmacy and the dispensing pharmacy to the payer).

Discussion: All of Spain’s health services are currently carrying out projects involving ICT application in healthcare, and a priori the benefits of ICT are not questioned. However, the costs and time frames required for these projects are clearly surpassing initial expectations, while the benefits perceived by both professionals and institutions remain limited. This situation may be due in part to the absence of a project management culture in the health services, which has led them to pay insufficient attention to the main difficulties and key issues related to the implementation of EHR.