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Case study May 26th, 2016

Better care through national health records in Lithuania

Lithuania’s health records system was in desperate need of modernization. Patient files were kept on paper and hospitals had their own procedures for keeping records. Thanks to Nortal, Lithuania now has a fully functional national health record that saves time and a range of other resources.

Nurse looking patient record on a computer

Smarter healthcare through digitization

Gabija was visiting the capital when her asthma took a frightening turn for the worse. Despite being far from her home clinic, doctors were able to instantly access Gabija’s medical history and treat her immediately. A few years ago, the records retrieval would have taken days. Luckily, Nortal has created a centralized, national health record system (NHR) for Lithuania (ESPBI IS), which is fundamentally transforming the nation’s healthcare landscape.

Challenge

Lithuania’s health records system was in desperate need of modernization. Not only were patient files primarly kept on paper, each hospital maintained them separately using its own record-keeping procedures.

Predictably, such a disjointed system led to multiple information bottlenecks. Doctors from one institution had to wait several days to retrieve records from another. Even within the same hospital, receiving laboratory results could take hours. Patients faced even bigger difficulties gaining access to their own medical files, or their children’s. The task was at best burdensome, if not outright impossible.

The outdated setup was also creating problems at the highest levels. In the absence of digitization, state policymakers had no way of performing analytics that would give them an accurate picture of the nation’s health needs, nor did they have any hope of adding new online tools to make medical services more streamlined and efficient.

Digital healthcare enables patient involvement

One notable and potentially profound change that comes with such a records system is patient involvement. Now that they have the ability to read their own medical information via the patient portal and communicate more closely with doctors, patients can be far more active participants in their own health maintenance.

Through new practices such as telemonitoring, which links the data from wearable health and activity trackers to a national health record, patients could provide doctors with valuable information and take on more responsibility for their own health outcomes. Such a shift toward self-care and prevention can keep patients healthier longer while reducing government expenditure on treatment.

Solution

To help Lithuania bring its healthcare system up-to-date and pave the way for further digital development, in 2015 Nortal created ESPBI IS, a centralized national health record system that serves as the foundation for the country’s entire electronic healthcare ecosystem.

The core of ESPBI IS is a data exchange paltform that allows all authorized stakeholders access to electronic patient records, which are stored centrally. In cases where larger hospitals already had their own IT platforms in place, these were integrated with ESPBI IS to ensure that information was flowing in a compatible way. Using the latest data exchange standard, HL7 FHIR makes sure the system is future proof, and connecting new clinics will be easy.

A crucial aspect of the system is its webbased portals for doctors, administrators, pharmacists and patients. The easy-to-use portals not only allow doctors to enter and retrieve information quickly, view lab results in real time, etc., they also allow patients full access to their own medical files and those of their children.

ESPBI IS functions include the ability to maintain several types of medical documents, generate certificates such as those needed for driver’s licenses, create patient summaries and reports, maintain vaccination calendars, manage reminders and communicate online via a messaging solution.

In addition to a powerful security system that strictly controls access to patient data and ensures compliance with legal regulations, ESPBI IS carries built-in tools for auditing, monitoring and generating useful statistics.

98%

prescriptions are digital

100%

birth and death certificates are electronic

NHR helps to build hospitals of the future

The immediate benefits of implementing a national health record are easy to see: doctors can provide better care when they have instant access to a patient’s information and when that information is complete.

The impact of digitizing and standardizing health records in this way goes much farther, however, from cutting down costs by reducing the administrative burden to ensuring transparency and opening up new opportunities for development. Lithuania, for instance, has levied the power of ESPBI IS to launch a paperless electronic prescription system that is proving popular among patients, doctors and pharmacists alike.

The adoption of our digital national health record quickly boosted the country’s ability to provide care in a number of ways, including the addition of new digital health services. For any country hoping to bring its healthcare up to pace with the world’s most effective systems and create a healthier society, a national health record should be the first step.

Nortal can help healthcare institutions and policy makers in forging successful strategies, managing change and creating the right technology to transform healthcare.

Nortal’s approach to digital healthcare

The importance of data is increasing in all the sectors, and healthcare is no exception. Healthcare organizations are under pressure to offer consumer engagement to people who want seamless experiences and expect their medical data be available in real time across different platforms.

Combine this with constant cost containment goals, and you have a serious challenge on your hands. Nortal can help healthcare institutions and policy makers in forging successful strategies, managing change and creating the right technology to transform healthcare.

Nortal can create secure platforms and digital healthcare systems where privacy is absolute. The data we can help healthcare organizations collect can facilitate the next leap in medicine, precision medicine.

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