The implementation of new technologies in regional health care offers higher quality medical services, doctors and government officials say.
By Bedrana Kaletović for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo -- 16/03/13
"I believe that in the future [health care] will be much more effective," Senad Jahic of Tuzla told SETimes. [Bedrana Kaletovic/SETimes]
Many countries in the region have focused their efforts recently on computerising their health care systems. While Serbia and Croatia have been the most aggressive in implementing the technology, Bosnia and Herzegovina has just begun the transformation.
While the BiH Health Ministry is co-ordinating the computerisation project, the cantons are responsible for implementing the reform. According to the ministry, the new system will cost each canton more than 100,000 euros.
The computerisation will make patients' health history accessible to any doctor in the system, making medical treatment more accurate and efficient, doctors said.
Medical workers will spend less time on administrative tasks and more time focusing on the patient, disease prevention and counseling, Dr. Nada Pavlovic, a professor of medicine at the clinic for gastroenterology at the University Clinical Centre in Tuzla, said.
"Better organisation of work within a health facility will enable a more accurate statistical analysis of data from electronic patient records," Pavlovic told SETimes.
Patients' medical history is very important, said Dr. Damir Jahic, a family practice physician at the Public Health Centre in Tuzla. "Sometimes the patient is not aware that the use of any drug in the past is essential to the further course of treatment. Electronic record shall include all of the information and thus will be more rational use of drugs," Jahic told SETimes.
Patients are also looking forward to the new system.
"I believe that new system will be much better for patients," Enver Huskic, 69, of Brcko District told SETimes. "Now, doctors are more concerned with administration rather than prevention of disease."
"I won't have to explain anything -- which treatment I use, what medications I should not use, health history of my family -- because it will all be accessible, regardless of whether I'm going to cardiologist or orthopedist," Senad Jahic, 53, of Tuzla told SETimes.
The use of electronic prescriptions and electronic referral of patients to specialists placed Croatia among the leading countries in the world regarding efficiency in health care, and in line with EU standards.
"The electronic medical record for each patient will be completed by June," Dunja Durut Beslač, an employee at the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, told SETimes. "One of the most important things is the intensive work regarding the access to patient's information and who will have access [to it]."
Serbia has also made great strides in the computerising its health care sector.
"The Integrated Management System, which comprises 125,000 employees in the state health sector, is not easy to follow, hence the computerisation is necessary. Apart from the observation and supervision of workers and health flows in the country, patients will have the most benefit," the Serbian Health Ministry said.
Serbia expects to complete the process of health care computarisation by 2015.