The digitalisation of health care is delayed, doctors still without the opportunity to share the necessary patient information

Press release on audit No 22/20 – 9 October 2023

The digitalisation of health care has been delayed and its key components are still missing. The Ministry of Health has not yet provided a single, secure communication environment for health service providers to share health data. Thus, the condition persists that doctors cannot effectively obtain all the necessary and pre-existing patient information in critical situations. A total of CZK 159 million spent on meeting selected strategic objectives of the digitalisation of health care did not lead to their fulfilment and the Ministry of Health postponed this task until 2026. The SAO has found a significant risk in the further delay in the digitalisation of health care.

This is the result of an audit by the SAO, which examined how the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Health Information and Statistics of the Czech Republic dealt with funds for the implementation of selected two of the four objectives of the “National eHealth Strategy” between 2019 and 2022, namely objective 2 “Increasing the efficiency of the health system” and objective 3 “Infrastructure and administrationof eHealth”. The SAO also audited a project to modernise the hospital information system, on which the Na Homolce Hospital spent CZK 91.3 million.

The auditors found that the draft law on the digitalisation of health care1 was prepared by the Ministry of Health behind schedule and compared to the original plan in an amended form. It deleted, among other things, parts regulating the emergent record, personal health record and index of medical records. Thus, one of the basic visions of patient-oriented healthcare was not fulfilled.

The Ministry of Health and the Institute of Health Information and Statistics of the Czech Republic failed to complete a reliable system that health service providers could use to share patient-specific data – except for a narrow segment of documentation to ensure the performance and management of sanitary and anti-epidemic activities. Providers do not yet have a single, secure communication environment for mutual sharing of medical data.* The condition continues that doctors cannot effectively obtain all necessary and existing patient information in critical situations.

The Na Homolce Hospital has built a new hospital information system, but in the absence of a single environment for safe sharing of medical records, it cannot share the documentation as foreseen by the Digital Health Services Act.

Auditors found that as of 1 January 2023, the Ministry of Health had not established key components of eHealth, such as core health registers (the register of health service providers, the register of health workers and the patient register), trust services, central eHealth services or a journal of activities, although Act No 325/2021 Coll. envisages their existence.

The Ministry of Health postponed the achievement of the objectives in the field of health digitalisation until 2026, with funding from the “National Recovery Plan” to implement them.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

* It is a highly secure infrastructure that will be protected by encrypted communications, database encryption, constant oversight of transactions, and the build-up of high availability backup infrastructure. All data accesses are to be logged in the activity journal in which it will be possible to find out when and who accessed what data.

1] Act No. 325/2021 Coll., on digital health services (the “Digital Health Services Act”)

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