Strengthening of the capacity of the Ministry of Health in the Czech Republic in its effort to set up a National eHealth Centre
The Czech Republic is facing the need for the establishment of a National eHealth Centre (NeHC) in order to implement effective and sustainable eHealth solutions.
A national eHealth system is a key element of efficient health systems, contributing to financial savings and improvements in the access and quality of care. Currently, rising expenditure on health care poses a fiscal sustainability challenge for the Czech Republic (DG ECFIN – Fiscal Sustainability Report, Ageing Report, Joint Report on Health Care and Long-term Care Systems). The lack of a NeHC leads to a lack of development of well integrated and effective eHealth solutions by the public and private sector and to the inability of the government to monitor and guide the implementation of the National eHealth Strategy. A NeHC should fill this gap by setting the institutional, legal and organizational framework for providers of eHealth solutions. A functioning NeHC will provide guidance and depending on its mandate implement eHealth solutions, which will provide the much needed link between patients and providers and between different providers, which will lead to avoidance of unnecessary medical service, will increase quality of care and thus increase the fiscal sustainability of the health system.
There were several attempts to introduce a functioning e-health system in the Czech Republic in the past (2009, 2012). These attempts failed due to difficulties concerning the lack of a societal and professional consensus on how to address these problems.
At present, and compared to other EU members, the introduction of eHealth is delayed in the Czech Republic. The Czech government now makes a renewed effort to solve these problems. In November 2016, the Czech government adopted a National eHealth Strategy. The establishment of the NeHC is an integral and basic part of this strategy. The strategy proposes to base the NeHC on European best practices following generally accepted European models and standards. In addition, the government has committed through a government's decision to adopt a law on a national eHealth system in the first half of 2018.
In view of the lack of sufficient administrative capacity in the Ministry of Health to implement this ambitious project without external support and in light of the legal deadline set by the government, support for the project is urgent. In this context, the Czech government submitted a request the Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) of the European Commission to assist in the implementation of the NeHC, which the SRSS agreed to do. Support for the project is a priority for the European Commission in light of the 2016 country-specific recommendation (CSR) to ‘…take measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances, in light of future risks in the area of healthcare'. Fostering eHealth in the Czech Republic is a key recommendation in the Joint Report on Health Care and Long-term Care Systems & Fiscal Sustainability by the European Commission. This project will thus support the implementation of EU level recommendations. The Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) of the European Commission pays particularly close attention to the knowledge transfer and training features (including in developing methodologies and modelling) of the technical support it makes available through this project, to the experts from the Czech Ministry of Health and associated institutes. More specifically, the successful implementation of the project shall assure a significant improvement in implementing sustainable eHealth solutions in the future.
The support under this project aims:
- to develop a framework, model options and a Road Map for implementing the NeHC based on current legislation and best international practices, and:
- to provide implementation assistance in the first year after the start of the NeHC.
The project in summary
Action under this support will contribute to the successful implementation of a National eHealth Centre (NeHC) in the Czech Republic and to a smooth functioning of the NeHC in the first year of its operation. Project duration is 24 months. In the first seven months (Component I) the framework and the scenarios for a possible NeHC will be developed. This includes the definition of the mandate (extensive or limited) of the NeHC, its governance structure, operating principles, rules and legal framework as well as its institutional structure, funding source, basic human resources and capital and operational budget, a detailed definition of an organisation chart, financial and human resources for the NeHC and HR, priority eHealth projects to be implemented by the NeHC and finally a road map for NeHC implementation.
The technical support (TS) provider will contribute to these goals by extensive on/off the ground support to the Czech Ministry of Health. Already during Component I, the Ministry of Health will choose and adopt one model of the NeHC and the results of the project will be communicated to the wider public. Already in the first months of the project, the Ministry of Health will assign a budget for the NeHC to allow for its establishment and the initiation of Component II of the project, which will start in the eighth month with the assisted implementation phase. Component II will include training activities, a communication strategy and will assist the NeHC in the implementation of key eHealth projects, such as e-prescription, which will be the first concrete tasks to be taken on by the newly established NeHC.
Throughout this assistance phase and until the end of month 24, on the job training will be delivered to the NeHC staff to facilitate the functioning of the NeHC. The project will finish with a closing conference in Prague.
|I||Framework development and scenario optimization for the National eHealth Center||Set-up the core framework of the NeHC (framework development) and set-up options for the design of the NeHC (scenario optimization), specifying budget and human resource needs, HR as well as define a Road Map to implement the chosen set-up option of the NeHC based on national legislation and on best international practices.|
|II||Assisted implementation phase||
Assisted implementation of the NeHC including definition and starting of priority projects, a communication and awareness strategy, and training activities – all in accordance with the National eHealth Strategy and the action plan.
Beneficiary institutions and other parties involved
The Technical Support (TS) providers are:
Federal Ministry of Health and Women's Affairs
Phone: +43-1/711 00-0
aed - Agency for Economic Cooperation and Development
Heiligenstädter Lände 29
1190 Vienna, Austria
Contact Person: Dieter Hampel
Phone: +43-1/714 940330
MS Institution receiving the technical support (TS):
Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic
Palackého náměstí 4, 128 01 Prague 2, Czech Republic
Contact Person: Martin Zeman
Director, MoH, Dept. of Informatics
Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) – Contracting Authority:
Contact point: Christoph SCHWIERZ, Deputy Head of Unit 'Labour Market, Health and Social Services'
European Health Telematics Association (EHTEL)
Avenue de Tervueren 168, Box 2 - B-1150 Brussels, Belgium
Contact Person: Marc Lange
Phone: +32 2 230 1534