Slovakian eHealth aims to ensure medical efficiency

Slovakian eHealth aims to ensure medical efficiency

A sick man gets out his health insurance card and puts it into a terminal at a doctor’s office. His general practitioner prepares a diagnosis and then, without a referral slip to a specialist or a pharmacy prescription, the patient moves on to the specialist for another examination or to the pharmacy where he picks up his medications by putting the same card into another terminal. This is how the Slovak health care is supposed to work via the eHealth electronic system that is to begin in 2017.

The eHealth system consists of a central database accessible to health-care providers, laboratories, pharmacies and patients. Patients need an eID or electronic health insurance card to join the system and other eligible people can use the electronic card of a health-care professional. Additionally, the system includes access to data about medicines in electronic forms via eMedikácia and ePreskripcia that allow pharmacies to dispense medicines without a written prescription.

The Health Ministry plans to launch pilot services with selected health-care providers during this year.

“The first-phase projects are almost finished,” the ministry’s spokesperson Peter Bubla told The Slovak Spectator, adding that after the first connection is made all remaining providers will gradually join, resulting in the nationwide system envisioned under the terms of the legislation beginning from January 2017.

Preparations for the e-Health scheme started in 2008 and about €50 million has been spent.

The system is currently being tested by experts and medical professionals who are allowed to try out the eHealth software and applications. Afterwards, a pilot operation will be launched and the information systems of specific health-care providers will be integrated with the national eHealth system and doctors will be able to use the services and applications of eHealth in their work.

The Slovak Medical Chamber (SLK) perceives the testing system in a positive way as its design has been created in cooperation with existing suppliers of health-care information systems.

“The system should not pose a big change for providers who use commonly available medical software,” Miloslav Ostrihoň from SLK told The Slovak Spectator.

According to the Association for the Protection of Patient’s Rights (AOPP), the design of the system is simple, easy-to-use and should not unnecessarily burden a patient.

However, experts from the Health Policy Institute (HPI) think-tank and the Slovak Union of Medical Specialists (SLÚŠ) have doubts about the project. Tomáš Szalay from HPI pointed out that the delay in its launch means the system will never be deployed in practice in its prepared form, while doubting whether it would be able to use the potential to provide useful information.

“Big government IT projects are problematic even in countries with better state and public administration,” Szalay told The Slovak Spectator.

Read more about E-Health in Slovakia by clicking here for the original article: http://spectator.sme.sk/c/20058745/ehealth-aims-to-ensure-medical-efficiency.html

Picture also: HERE

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