Drucker: Introduction of eHealth System Failed on All Fronts

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Health Minister Tomas Drucker and Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation at the international ITAPA 2016 conference in Bratislava on Monday (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 14 (TASR) – The eHealth system in Slovakia should have been in operation a long time ago, but its introduction was accompanied by failures at all levels, mainly in the area of implementation, said Health Minister Tomas Drucker (a Smer-SD nominee) at the international ITAPA 2016 conference in Bratislava on Monday.

Drucker doesn’t think that the money that has already been spent on the electronisation of the health-care system is too much. “I don’t have information about that, nor am I convinced of that,” he said. The eHealth system has already cost around €47 million.

The minister is concerned that eHealth isn’t already in place. It’s taking too long. “If we already had it, we would have saved more money than it cost in the first year alone,” he stressed.

The system is still in a trial phase, with only 12 providers of health care involved in it. The National Oncology Institute in Bratislava as well as some surgeries of cardiac institutes in central and eastern Slovakia should join by the end of this year.

“We’d like to start incorporating smaller providers as of 2017,” explained the minister, adding that there’s no need to fear costs related to electronic equipment, as the ministry wants to find positive motivation for the smaller entities.

The first phase of eHealth could be fully operational by the end of 2017. “That [the first phase] involves electronic prescriptions and documentation,” explained Drucker, adding that the system has already passed the security test.

Drucker emphasised that there’s still a need for more money to complete the project, but this has already been reserved in the ministry’s budget. He doesn’t think that the eHealth system is holy scripture because the health-care system can easily function without it.

The eHealth system should digitise medical services. The deadline for its introduction has been shifted several times. It should have been on trial back in 2013. The system should usher in electronic communications between patients, doctors, hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies. Each patient should have an electronic medical report listing their health condition.

Patients should have been given electronic health insurance cards as well, but the Government recently scrapped this measure, stating that people should use their ID cards with microchips for the purposes of electronic health care.

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