A new National Health Information System is expected to be introduced in 2012 as part of the EU's e-Health initiative.

e-Health is one of the ten priorities of the e-Europe 2005 Action Plan and aims to create user-friendly and interoperable information systems for patients and healthcare professionals in Europe.

Although progress towards implementation has been modest so far, the National Health Information System will eventually include:

  • a National Health Portal containing information about pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and healthcare providers, as well as information and warnings about epidemics and other medical issues
  • Electronic Health Record, to be introduced from 2013, containing key information on individuals' health and medical treatment
  • the ability to scheduling doctor's appointments and receive information about planned exams or lab results online
  • the ability to monitor online the progress of patients suffering from chronic diseases, to reduce the number of visits to their doctors

There is already much discussion about the need for any legislative changes to ensure the security and privacy of patient health records and other sensitive personal data.

In 2008, the Slovak government approved the strategic goals of e-Health, including:

  • setting the legislative, normative and system architecture framework
  • creating secure infrastructure
  • informatisation (ie adding patient and other healthcare data to the system)
  • supporting new processes and forms of health care and health-care services

The National Health Information Centre has recently confirmed that no bills have been passed or even submitted to Parliament to make the legislative amendments required by the e-Health initiative, which were identified in a 2009 feasibility study by the Finance Ministry as including:

  • Act on health care
  • Act on health care providers
  • Act on scope of health care covered by public health insurance
  • Act on health insurance
  • Act on drugs
  • Act on personal data protection
  • Act on public health protection

Several implementing regulations will also need to be passed.

The only regulation so far passed was in 2008 and required providers of medical treatment to install ICT equipment with broadband internet access to enable the transmission and processing of electronic outpatient treatment data. The deadline was the end of 2008 for providers of outpatient treatment and the end of 2011 for providers of inpatient treatment. The extent to which these requirements are being met is not known.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 16/09/2011.