The Lithuanian government has approved a new eHealth strategy for 2007-2015, aiming to improve the quality and continuity of patient services through information technology.
The strategy document [currently available in Lithuanian only] builds on a previous feasibility study of eHealth system development and implementation steps from 2005 till 2008, and aims to meet European Commission eHealth standards.
Vita Siniciene, head of the information technology division, at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, told E-Health Europe: “Currently the Ministry of Health has started a project of national eHealth system implementation. The first stage of the project will cover creation of core elements, such as common standards, nomenclature, registries and four main functionalities.
“These are the registration of patient visits, exchange of clinical and administrative data; creation and sending referrals for consultations/treatment as well as inputting and receiving results; creation and sending of referrals for diagnostics (laboratories, medical images ) as well as receiving and storing result; execution of registration for an appointment (consultation, treatment, tests).”
The strategy project has been put together by the Lithuanian eHealth Development Coordination Board, chaired by Haroldas Baubinas. It is currently at public approval stage – this will end at the end of August following a number of interested parties declaring interests.
Siniciene added: “We will be seeking to ensure interoperability and integration of different health information systems and the project will be implemented in line with health informatics standards which will be nationally recognised and used for future developments.
“In the next stages we will implement other foreseen functionalities such as electronic prescriptions, exchange of medical images, decision support systems, public health monitoring, information analysis and so on.”
There are 15 main functions of the Lithuanian eHealth strategy:
1. Registration of healthcare events and health problems.
2. Registration of a patient’s visits to the doctor and the exchange of clinical and administrative data.
3. Drafting and sending out of referrals to consultations/for treatment, issuing and receiving results.
4. Registration of patients for consultations/treatment/medical examination.
5. Drafting and sending out or referrals for the establishment of a diagnosis (to the laboratory, for medical images), receiving of the results and their storage.
6. Registration and identification of samples.
7. Receiving, archiving and exchange of medical images (radiology and roentgen).
8. Assistance in writing out of prescriptions, drafting and sending of e-prescriptions.
9. Using of templates when preparing medical documents.
10. Methodological assistance in the treatment process.
11. Drafting and submitting of statistical, public health monitoring reports and reports required by SPF.
12. Automatic transfer of the information on compensatory services to SVEIDRA IS (system for the management, storing, exchanging, analysing and reporting of all the services provided by healthcare institutions.)
13. Analysis of the collected information.
14. Emergency medical treatment.
15. Telemedicine (provision of remote medical services).
Pilots are already underway for some of the systems being implemented under the project.
Siniciene told EHE: “Vilnius university hospital Santariški? clinics with partners (other hospitals, policlinics and GPs) are making project of Patient visit reservation system as part of the national eHealth system. It is one of eHealth online services for citizens within Lithuania.
“EHealth is one of the priorities of eServices development in Lithuania and part of the European Union Structural Funds for period 2004-2006 and 2007-2013 will be used for eServices development including eHealth. These investments will greatly boost eHealth development.”
The eHealth Development Coordination Board say this new project strategy takes into account the Council of Europe’s views on the importance of eHealth and will help to ensure that the Lithuanian health service is on a par with the rest of the continent.
Deputy chairman, Arunas Lukoševicius, said: “This is a strategy for the joint action of the entire healthcare sector that ensures the management and use of healthcare data in order to improve the state of health of the Lithuanian population. Information technologies provide new opportunities for using the overall value of medical data for the promotion of public health.”
(Lithuanian, though some documents are in English)