The EU4Digital eHealth stream held a virtual event on eHealth strategy and cross-border eHealth service piloting on 27 April 2023. It was the first virtual meeting in a series of collaboration events planned for this year, setting the ground for meaningful collaboration towards eHealth development in Eastern partner countries.
A core highlight of the event were presentations from the five participating Eastern partner countries about their key developments, priorities and challenges within the topic of eHealth.
- In Georgia the main focus is the consolidation of systems in order to establish a one-stop shop principle. Additionally, data-related developments such as seamless data exchange, single point of data entry and data quality are a focal area. The main challenges include a highly fragmented health sector and lack of data standardisation.
- Azerbaijan looks to further develop its centralised electronic health record (EHR) services and central ecosystem. Another priority as well as challenge is continuous development of a mobile application for eHealth.
- Ukraine underlined sustainability of its eHealth system – ensuring uninterrupted eHealth care and the development of technologies in response to war and refugee needs – as the top priority. The main challenges are governing their multiple initiatives and maintaining the IT infrastructure. Ukraine also seeks to connect its National Contact Point (NCP) with MyHealth@EU for the cross-border service on patient summary and ePrescription.
- Armenia stated its main priorities are better access to healthcare via telemedicine, and the development of a patient portal and mobile app. The current challenges include complicated integration with existing systems, lack of technology in rural areas, and overall healthcare system resistance to new management mechanisms.
- Moldova is about to start its new eHealth programme, covering the next couple of years.
Experts also shared their knowledge of eHealth strategy development during the event. EU4Digital eHealth expert Henrique Martins MD, PhD, is Associate Professor at ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon. He gave a presentation in which he stressed the value of comprehensive eHealth vision, middle level management involvement, and attention to sub-strategies as key take-aways in regards to National eHealth Strategy development. This was followed by Carole Rouaud, Policy Officer with the European Commission, DG Health and Food Safety (SANTE). She introduced MyHealth@EU, the electronic cross-border health service in the EU. She shared an overview of ongoing cross-border eHealth services projects and pilots across EU Member States and introduced the European Health Data space (EHDS).
The event concluded with the EU4Digital team introducing an upcoming eHealth session, for cross-border pilot ideation with the Eastern partner countries. The main topics discussed regarding cross-border eHealth piloting were around patient summary and ePrescription services – focusing on practical aspects when people travel to foreign countries. Two different modes of the Express Lab concept were presented, in which foreigners can receive quick blood tests that would either be interpreted locally or by their home-country doctor via cross-border telemedicine services. ePrescription would then be issued correspondingly. Teams of Eastern partner countries will continue the ideation work in the lead up to the cross-border pilot ideation session in June.