In order to get all the documents for a newborn baby, parents usually have to visit about 11 different institutions and spend at least ten days on the entire process, a bureaucratic ordeal that is in no way unique to Ukraine, and one that affects the provision of public services in general.
Through its EU4Digital initiative, the European Union is supporting Ukraine to overcome hurdles such as these, as part of an overarching effort to transform the digital economy and society in line with EU best practices, including in the area of eHealth, where EU4Digital is working with Ukrainian partners to harmonise policies and practices.
“The Ministry of Digital Transformation enjoys the most fruitful cooperation with the EU4Digital project,” says Mykhailo Kiktenko, Ukrainian coordinator of the EU4Digital eHealth network and Governmental Expert on European and Euro-Atlantic integration at the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. “With the direct assistance of EU4Digital, we have already piloted the use of various technologies such as eInvoicing and eSignature and achieved solid results. Recently established cooperation on eHealth makes us certain that we will achieve exceptional results in this area, which will help Ukrainian citizens reap the full benefits of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.”
Indeed, in 2019, Ukraine introduced Electronic Health Records, followed this year by the launch of a pilot eBaby project, which integrates the digitalisation of civil administration documents, welfare records and eHealth registers through a single online platform.
The project allows parents of a newborn to receive several services at once on the basis of a single application, avoiding new parents the ordeal of visiting many institutions and spending hours in line for basic documents for their child. And now, the Ministry of Digital Transformation recently announced, the comprehensive eBaby service can be accessed online, with the help of the state digital application Diia.
This service is currently being tested in beta mode. Together with representatives of the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the NHSU, we share what we know about the implementation of the eBaby project in Ukraine and how parents can use this service.
What is the essence of the eBaby project?
“eBaby is a convenient service that has been working since October 2020. It allows parents to receive nine services from different authorities, without unnecessary visits to these institutions, on the basis of just one application form. That is, you can access these services without visiting any institutions. We are talking about the state registration of birth, determining the origin of the child, whether they qualify for Ukrainian citizenship, registration of residence, appointment of assistance, etc.” explains the acting head of the Unit for Interaction with External Systems and Registers of the NHSU Department for the Development of the Electronic Health Care System, Yevhen Batura.
According to the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the number of users of the eBaby service now stands at more than 33,000, with a 100% level of satisfaction in the past four weeks.
Currently, eBaby allows users to receive nine services: two basic and seven additional services.
“The basic services are state registration of birth and determination of the child’s origin. It is technically impossible to access the additional services without having used these,” says Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Lyudmyla Rabchynska.
Parents can then choose additional eBaby services, including:
- Registration in the State Register of Individual Taxpayers and assigning a child a taxpayer number;
- Entering information about the child in the Unified State Demographic Register with the assignment of a unique record number;
- Determining the newborn’s citizenship;
- Appointment of assistance for the newborn;
- Registration of the newborn child’s place of residence;
- Assigning assistance to children raised in families with multiple children;
- Entering information about the child in the Register of Patients, which is maintained in the central eHealth database.
Who can use the comprehensive eBaby service?
“Parents of a newborn child who have not yet received a child’s birth certificate and have an electronic medical certificate of birth can become users of the eBaby project,” says Yevhen Batura, adding that applications could equally be submitted by married parents, divorced couples, as well as single mothers.
“We were able to draw up the following documents in 20 minutes in one office: a child’s birth certificate, registration of her place of residence, appointment of cash benefits at birth and registration in the state register of taxpayers,” says Anton Senenko, a senior researcher of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, who recently used the eBaby service.
However, it was not possible to get a unique record number at the Unified State Demographic Register for the child because the register was not working at that time.
And Anton Senenko says some documents did not arrive in the mail even a few months after they were processed, so he advises parents to control this process on their own.
“There are gaps still, communication is still lagging behind, but we hope that all the issues will disappear soon. In general, we are very satisfied,” Senenko said.
How to use the service?
“eBaby provides the opportunity to receive the necessary services with one electronic application online on the Diia portal or with the help of an administrator in a maternity hospital, Civil Registration Department or the Centre for Administrative Services,” explains the Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Lyudmyla Rabchynska.
In other words, parents can fill out an online application for the eBaby service on the Diia portal at this link. They can also do it offline at one of the Centres for Administrative Services, the nearest Civil Registration Department, or the maternity hospital where the child was born.
When filling out the application offline, parents must provide their passports and medical birth certificate form № 103/o. However, if the person creates an application on the Diia portal, they will additionally need to specify the registration number of the parents’ taxpayer’s account card, data from their marriage certificate, information about the assignment of one of the parents’ record number at the Unified State Demographic Register, and IBAN number.
These and other data will help immediately to draw up an application for the assignment of a newborn child with the record number at the Unified State Demographic Register and to apply for state assistance.
However, parents with different surnames will have to provide a notarised power of attorney and consent to give the child a surname, and divorced couples need to provide a joint application for recognition of paternity.
What are the advantages of the eBaby project for parents?
In recent years, Ukraine has been working to develop a harmonised national eHealth system in Ukraine. One of the main points of this system is to ensure a fast and comfortable process of registration of documents for every citizen, starting from birth.
“Previously, in order to receive services for a newborn child, parents had to visit 11 institutions, collect and submit about 37 different documents, fill out applications themselves and return to the institutions to get the result of the service. On average, it took ten days,” says Lyudmyla Rabchynska.
Now it takes only 10-20 minutes to fill out the questionnaire offline or on the Diia portal.
Yevhen Batura points out that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the updated eBaby service helps parents reduce the number of visits to institutions and minimise their risks of catching the virus in public places.
“In addition, now the data about the newborn appears in the eHealth system automatically immediately after registration. If parents enter information about the child in the Register of Patients, then when parents choose a paediatrician for the child, the baby’s data will already be in the electronic system. This speeds up the signing of the declaration. By the way, 718 of such new entries have already appeared in the Register of Patients,” explains the NHSU representative.
What are the advantages of the eBaby project for the state?
According to the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the eBaby project has become a channel for the introduction of the first electronic medical report about the birth, replacing medical certificate 103/o, the first step in the creation of an individual’s Electronic Health Record [link], currently being rolled out in Ukraine as part of the transformation of eHealth.
“The electronic medical report with the electronic signature of the doctor and the electronic seal of the National Health Service of Ukraine cannot be forged,” emphasises Ms. Rabchynska, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation.
NHSU representatives say the eBaby project covers more than 90% of all births in Ukraine, and the electronic medical certificate of birth has almost completely replaced the paper form.
“However, there are still cases when old mechanisms and paper forms are used. These are cases when births do not take place in a health care institution, when persons are unidentified, when foreign citizens give birth, etc.,” says Yevhen Batura.
What is the future of eBaby?
The NHSU officials are convinced that the next stage in the development of the project is the transition of all births exclusively to electronic medical certificates of birth.
Currently, the eBaby service is available online in 139 settlements and offline in 292. In total, there are 629 access points: 46 maternity hospitals, 218 Centres for Administrative Services and 226 Civil Registration departments.
“Their number is constantly growing,” says Lyudmyla Rabchynska. “The Ministry of Labour is working to ensure that employees of all Centres for Administrative Services, Civil Registration departments and maternity hospitals provide the eBaby service and that all Ukrainians can use it. We make the Diia portal even more convenient and easier to use for both administrators and parents who order the service online on their own.”
The Ministry of Digital Transformation is currently developing the tenth service to be made available under the eBaby project: by the end of this year, users of this service will be able to apply for certificates of parents and children from large families.
Part of a broader framework
By creating the first Electronic Medical Record at birth, the eBaby project is contributing to the seamless digitalisation of healthcare in Ukraine. Apart from easing bureaucratic hurdles, eHealth systems ensure a more secure and seamless provision of care across health service providers. Not only is the child’s medical record immediately available to its paediatrician and updated with every consultation, but it is also available to every hospital and specialist the child may need.
EU4Digital not only works with its Ukrainian partners to share European best practices in developing national eHealth systems, but also to ensure the interoperability of eHealth platforms across borders, both with neighbouring countries and the EU.
“Interoperability will improve the health of every citizen in the Eastern partner countries,” explains Martynas Daugirdas, eHealth expert for the EU4Digital facility. “Our vision is that in 10 years’ time, when a patient from Country A needs urgent care in Country B, healthcare providers will have immediate access to information on which medications the patient is sensitive or allergic to. This summary of a patient’s health condition is crucial when making urgent life or death choices that characterise the healthcare sector.”
“The health care of the future can be imagined as seamless patient mobility from provider to provider, country to country, as well as health care provision continuity and informed decision making for better health outcomes,” says Daugirdas. “Cross-border eHealth infrastructure will allow a Ukrainian citizen travelling abroad to receive prescribed medication from a local pharmacy. The sharing of patient summaries will help doctors to understand patients’ medical history and avoid mistakes when prescribing medicine.”
Thus a process that begins at birth with the eBaby project, will eventually help every Ukrainian citizen to enjoy better health care and outcomes, not only in his own country but wherever he may travel.
EU4Digital aims to extend the benefits of the European Union’s Digital Single Market to the Eastern Partner states, channelling EU support to develop the potential of the digital economy and society, in order to bring economic growth, generate more jobs, improve people’s lives and help businesses in Ukraine and the other Eastern partner countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.
Find out more about EU4Digital at https://eufordigital.eu/