eHealth – one size fits all?

I’m having a bit of an internal struggle with the idea that there is a “one size fits all” solution in eHealth. To put things in a bit of perspective, someone suggested that for hospitals, there should only be one information system in place instead of duplicating efforts. I’m not sure if I agree with this position.

I can see how from a systems perspective, conserving resources and collaborating on projects can be a good thing. I also see how having a common information system could save resources in terms of development, decreases in the number of software errors, decrease training time by users, and a few other benefits. But, the question still remains: can we have only one system to cover all of the needs of health care? I’m not sure.

I’m inclined to say “no”, but I can’t come up with any good reasons for there not to be a “one size fits all” solution. In some way, I think Toffler’s idea of “mass customization” is an interesting one. The technologies are seemingly sophisticated enough to allow for individual preferences to be considered in terms of presentation (think of the dashboards on popular sites like Yahoo!).

Maybe the solution isn’t so much at the “end-user” interface, but in terms of the interaction between systems. Maybe the “one size fits all” solution is the development of commonly accepted and used standards for data transmission, providing flexibility to the end users to customize as they please.