No more EU cash for Latvia's problem-plagued e-health system

No further European funds will be invested in Latvia's e-health system, therefore the third round of planned upgrades to the system will not be implemented, Health Minister Ilze Viņķele (For Development/For) told reporters February 21, according to the LETA newswire.

The Health Ministry has decided to submit a report to the Cabinet of Ministers, stating that the European Regional Development Fund's funding for further development of the e-health project will not be necessary.

In the future, the Health Ministry will focus on improving the existing e-health services, Viņķele said.

"What the new e-health system is going to look like is up for ICT experts and e-health users to decide. I expect the National Health Service and its experts to do more active work so the public could be informed about further steps as soon as possible. Until then, the existing e-health services will be available," Viņķele said.

The existing e-health system was created more than a decade ago, and since then, requirements on the necessary products and digital solutions have changed dramatically, said the National Health Service's Director Edgars Labsvirs. Adding new services to the system is difficult without affecting the availability of the existing services.

After assessing the system's technical parameters, the National Health Service decided to separate the existing e-health system, where the most notable functions are the electronic prescriptions and sickness leaves, from the third round which stipulated several new additions, said Vinkele.

As previously reported by LSM, the e-health system has been dogged throughout its history by delays, complaints and technical glitches. 

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