Latvia's ailing "e-health" system will be subject to check-up

Due to multiple problems in the e-health system, implementation of the third round of the project has been put on hold, the LETA newswire reported March 5.

Health Minister Ilze Vinkele said on the Ministry website that she had temporarily halted the third round of the e-health project in order to specify what activities were being planned in the future and prioritize these activities. Vinkele has told the Health Ministry and National Health Service to analyze feedback from system users.

Vinkele wants to have full information about what has been done so far and how further implementation of the project is being planned.

"There has to be a clear division between what was implemented by the time I was appointed minister and how the project will be implemented during my term in office," said the minister, adding that the National Health Service had given her a list of errors found in the e-health system to date, and that there were about fifty errors on the list.

In order to ensure functionality of the e-health system and its compatibility with platforms used by physicians and users, a meeting with system users will be organized, which will be attended by representatives of physicians, family physicians, pharmacists, hospitals, and other users.

"I see no grounds for harmonization of the third round of the project as long as I am not sure that we will be moving in the right direction. We don't have to invent anything new, and the process should not take too long. At the same time, considering some of the solutions began three years ago and we must set new priorities, so there are no more instances when we receive something that no longer meets the needs of modern-day users," explained Vinkele.

Earlier Tuesday, Vinkele told LNT television that the e-health project was very unsuccessful, but it could not be abandoned to develop a new e-health system. The e-health system will not be changed, but it will be maximally improved, she said.

Vinkele said that the problems with the e-health system were due to the fact that in the past, implementation of the project was supervised by the health minister's office, not the Health Ministry. In the future, the ministry will be fully responsible for the project, said Vinkele.

Patients and medical staff alike have expressed dissatisfaction with the e-health system and its implementation over a period of years. Questions have also been raised about the cost of the project.  

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