My Overall Take on EHR in the Middle East

If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen me posting pictures of my trip to Dubai. While I’ve been able to have a little fun and games on this trip, I spent most of my time teaching a 3 day EHR workshop to a group of amazing people from Saudia Arabia, Oman, and Pakistan. If you’ve never been out of the US and experience other countries, then I highly recommend it. It provides some amazing added perspective to your life.

Based on the surveys and feedback from attendees, I’d say the workshop was a success. I was surprised that I could talk about EHR for 3 days, but I didn’t have any problem. We’re going to shorten future EHR workshops I do to only 2 days, not because there isn’t enough content, but that after 2 days of talking about EHR you’re pretty well burnt out and can’t take in more information.

While I’m glad to hear that those who attended got value from the workshop, I must admit that I was grateful for the learning I took away from those in my class. It’s the truth of teaching. The students often teach the teacher as much as the teacher teaches the students. In fact, the last session of the workshop was an opportunity for the students to share their experiences and insights with EHR and to raise their challenges so we could collectively help each other. I love this type of community support. I’m hopeful it will continue well after the conference. Luckily with things like Twitter, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp, it’s easy for all of us from around the world to stay connected. Email’s not bad either.

While the middle east and each country in the middle east has some unique idiosyncrasies, I was most surprised by how similar it is in these countries when I compare it with my experience in the US. We like to think that it’s very different (and in a few cases it is), but there is more in common with implementing EHR than there is different when you look at EHR across the world.

For example, they still had doctors who didn’t want to train on the EHR and then complained that they didn’t know how to use it. The power of doctor peer pressure is just as strong internationally as it is in the US. EHR interfaces are as much a nightmare in the middle east as it is in the US. I could go on and on.

The thing I found most similar to the US was the people cared about the patients much like they do in the US. We generally have really amazing people working in healthcare and that appears to be true in the middle east as well. While we all understand the challenges we face in healthcare, the desire to provide great care to the patient is a universal desire.

I’m heading home tomorrow. I’ll be grateful to be home in my own bed and with my family. However, I’ve almost got a return trip planned for the end of August. Plus, my Saudi friends want me to come and share my insights in their country. Considering one of them has a jet ski on the ocean, that sounds pretty enticing. Not to mention my new friends in Oman offered to let me ride their camel if I visited them. I think we’ll stick to Dubai for now, but you never know where life will take me in the future. Maybe a future training I do will line up with HIMSS Middle East in December. Either way, I love that I’ve been able to learn about new EHR perspectives. It’s always enlightening.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

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