Bulgaria has launched a national health portal as the entry point to its first electronic health records.

The portal, developed by InterComponentWare (ICW), will give state administration employees access to a modern, electronic version of the paper-based Personal Ambulatory Book that is used to keep track of medical appointments.

The Electronic Personal Ambulatory Book has been developed by ICW with Kontrax, a Bulgarian provider of medical practice management systems. The link up means that medical information from the health record can be exchanged automatically with its practice management system, Hippocrates.

Other suppliers of practice management systems are interested in providing their customers with a similar service.

The Electronic Personal Ambulatory Book will give authorised physicians access to information about diagnoses, plus medical documents such as reports, radiographies and scans.

An emergency data set is also provided that includes information about blood type, allergies, chronic illnesses and a person to contact in case of emergency. The owner of the Electronic Personal Ambulatory Book decides who can access the information.

The portal will also give Bulgarians access to up to date health information, a registry of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, and the forms to access them.

ICW and Kontrax have a history of working on health projects in Bulgaria. In 2007, the two companies implemented a pilot project for a national electronic health card, which networked seven medical practices and four pharmacies over a highly secure eHealth infrastructure, provided by Cisco.