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Divu gadu laikā plāno pāriet uz digitālo veselību

Two years until new e-health prescription system is ready

Latvia's problem-prone e-health system of issuing prescriptions is set to be replaced in around two years' time, but full digitization of medical records will take longer, Health Minister Daniels Pavļuts said July 7.

Doctors and also patients alike have criticized the e-health system with some regularity, as it is prone to glitches and provides only meager information. Often the paper-based system it was supposed to replace is used as a back-up.

Officials also admit that the existing system is not good enough and needs to be improved. A new digital health platform is currently being developed, which is intended to collect all information about the patient's health from all medical institutions in one place.

By investing several tens of millions of euros, it is planned to introduce modern digital health in the next few years, in which all patient data can be viewed in one place. Convenient and fast.

"Within two years, we could reach a moment when data entry in Latvian health care will no longer take place in paper format," said Pavļuts.

We will move towards digital records. And it will come to the point that, over time, we will have to digitize all patient data, which currently exists only on patient cards in paper form. This, of course, will take much more time," said the Minister, who also announed the signing of a new "digital health memorandum" involving stakeholders from the worlds of healthcare and technology.

Doctors point out that especially during the Covid pandemic, doctors have been looking for ways to transfer information in digital form between institutions and offices, because it was epidemiologically unsafe to pass it from hand to hand.

"But the conclusion is - yes, we have problems with digitization. However, this will not solve the problem of staff shortages. We have too few doctors and nurses, digitization will not solve that. However, these processes are undoubtedly necessary," said Krista Brūna, board member of the Association of Junior Doctors.

Until the new system is ready, the current e-health system will remain in place.

The concept of an e-health system was first approved in 2005, but following a lengthy and costly period of development it only became mandatory in 2018.

From day one it encountered problems, with complaints that it often crashed and seemed outdated even at launch.

At the end of 2019, a procurement was announced on how the unified health information system should look in the future. The cost of its creation is estimated at several million euros.

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