Lithuania will use Estonia’s experience

During the international eHealth Conference 'E-Health Tallinn 2010', held on 13-15 October 2010, Asta Meškerevičiūtė, the Director of the General Affairs Department at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania met with representatives from Estonia, among other countries, and praised the Estonian experience of implementing an eHealth strategy.

"The strategy of Estonia is fully in line with our vision, so it is very important for us to take their experience and use it. Estonia's success is based on a strong competence centre, strict legal regulations and progressive eHealth service development," said Asta Meškerevičiūtė, Director of the General Affairs Department at the Lithuanian Ministry of Health.

Currently, Estonia has a national record system, which contains the full medical history of patients. Technically, any doctor can access patients' health records, but only for healthcare purposes. Since January 2010, Estonia has implemented an electronic prescription system and around 85 % of the medical prescriptions have gone digital. 

An emergency system, which electronically transmits medical data from the ambulance to the hospital, has been developed. Additionally, a national picture archiving and communication system (PACS), which can store medical images from all the Estonian health care institutions, has been implemented. According to Estonian law, any person may prevent access to their own health records, however, the effect on further treatment would then be the patient's responsibility. Patients can view logs of who accessed their records and when. For all these projects Estonia has spent around €12 million.
The eHealth Foundation is responsible for eHealth development in Estonia. It was set up five years ago by the Ministry of Social Affairs, together with social partners - hospitals and associations. The Foundation is managed by a board and it currently employs 22 staff.

"Being in the start position, Lithuania can use our experience and avoid highly expensive mistakes. We are ready to assist Lithuania in developing eHealth", said Madis Tiik, Chief Executive Officer of the Estonian eHealth Foundation. According to Mr. Tiik, the most important thing is to implement a simple system, in phases, by introducing new functionalities gradually.

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