Annual survey aims to find out the level and extent of usage of electronic health records (EHRs) in government-related hospitals in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. In addition, there are plans to develop a website to serve as a forum of exchange on the development of EHRs.

The country's government has prioritized the development of e-Health (health information technology) and allocated funding for a period of three years, (from 2008 till now.) During this time, some sectors of government made really important efforts in developing e-Health services.

EHRs are known by a multitude of names, including electronic medical records (EMR's) and computer-based patient record (CBPR's.) In a word, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a longitudinal electronic record of patient health information (such as demographics , progress notes, problems, indications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports.)

To determine the level and extent of EHR usage, two kinds of surveys are undertaken every year, the first one is done at the hospital level, and the second one at the physician level. While the former aims to look at the uptake of EHR amongst hospitals in general, the latter explores the extent to which doctors make use of EHR systems in their practices or in hospitals.

In the report of the study it was noted that “Hospital-based surveys answer questions about the diffusion of uptake of EHR systems in hospitals. -based surveys answer questions about the resistance or acceptance of physicians in adopting EHR systems, the components of EHR systems that physicians use the most, and the profile of physicians most likely to use EHRs. before embarking on physician-based ones. ”

Results of such surveys are usually presented in one of two ways, either using simple percentages to show the level of availability and usability of the various dimensions of EHR adoption or putting these percentages into a model to deduce the “stage” of EHR adoption and its “score.”

The report says that “In general, there are 19 government hospitals in the Eastern Province that fall under the Ministry of Health. Of these, only three (15.8 percent) have EHR's. staff members, while one has less than five full-time IT staff. All three hospitals have implemented the same EHR software and were using it successfully. ”

“Regarding the security measures of their EHR information system, one response stated that his EHR information system was secured and provided protective measures regarding the privacy and confidentiality of patients' information.” Neverheless, the two remaining were not able to comment on these topics.

In addition, one respondent mentioned that the EHR system used in his hospital provides protection against “malicious programs, denial-of-service attacks, hackers, crackers, and spam,” while the remaining two respondents claimed their “EHR system provides protection only against hackers and spam. ”