The Lithuanian Ministry of Health has recently signed a contract for the implementation of a national medical picture archiving and information exchange system called MedVAIS (Nacionalinės medicininių vaizdų archyvavimo ir mainų informacinės sistemos, in Lituanian). The Ministry representatives also met with experts from the Estonian Ministry of Health to discuss this project and related ehealth aspects.
MedVAIS will be based on nation-wide, uniform ehealth standards for the storage of medical images. Healthcare organisations will be able to view medical images in the system, and thus avoid performing duplicate medical exams. Furthermore, patients’ medical images will be linked to their health records.
The Chancellor of the Lithuanian Ministry of Health, Rimantas Remeika pointed out that the ehealth standards on which MedVAIS will be based will significantly improve healthcare quality: “MedVAIS will be able to archive X-rays, ultrasound images and bio-signal measurements. It will satisfy the expectations of both doctors and patients,” he explained.
The Chancellor warned, however, that there is still much work to do: “Legal, technical and organisational requirements need to be developed for the integration of digital medical images with patient electronic health records. For the implementation of the project, all Lithuanian healthcare institutions will need to be provided with the required hardware and software for creating and managing digital images in accordance with their obligation to place medical images on MedVAIS.”
During their encounter, Lithuanian and Estonian experts shared their ehealth experiences; they emphasised that the best way is to learn from past experience and mistakes: “We are inspired by the Estonian example: high level of expertise, strict legal regulations and progressive implementation of ehealth services,” said Mr Remeika. “It is valuable to share challenges and ways of coping with ehealth adoption.”
Currently, Estonia has a national health records system which combines patients’ medical history. Estonia started introducing ePrescriptions in 2010 and today, about 85 % of all prescriptions are electronic.
The MedVAIS project will be funded and managed under the Operational Programme 'Economic Growth', priority Information Society for All.