Digitalization in healthcare remains a priority, eSick leave is coming soon

The continuation of digitalization in healthcare, including the introduction of eSick leave and eRecords, will be priorities for the Ministry of Health in the new mandate. Patients will no longer have to repeat tests and carry them from one facility to another, and we will have a clear overview of our medication inventory, the number of employees, and how money is being spent, said Minister of Health Zlatibor Lončar at the meeting of the members of the Health Alliance of NALED, adding that the introduction of ePrescriptions alone has brought savings of 30 million euros.

According to him, it is necessary for citizens to know the cost of services, and for integration with the private sector to be possible, the first step is to establish service prices. Also, following the example of other developed countries, after completing treatment in public institutions, patients should receive bills that they would not have to pay, but would know the amounts covered by their insurance.

NALED's research, which included 1,500 doctors, showed that the majority spend around 40% of their working time on paperwork, which hinders them from working more efficiently. Therefore, the digitalization of procedures is NALED's top priority, which has also been recognized by USAID through the CHISU project, providing support for improving the healthcare environment in more than 20 countries worldwide.

- Besides major reform efforts such as completing the establishment of eRecords, eReferrals, and eSick leave, we support the Ministry's work on other projects such as the introduction of a waiting list system in the Emergency Center. We will continue our work through the Coordination Body for Digitalization in Healthcare, and one of the priorities is the adoption of missing sublegal acts that define the path forward," said Vukašin Radulović, president of the Health Alliance at NALED and a partner at Heliant.

As the second priority, representatives of the Health Alliance nominated improving the possibilities for patients to receive modern therapies and innovative drugs in Serbia, primarily at the expense of the state. The first step is to enact a new Medicines Act, as the current one is 14 years old, not in line with EU standards, and prevents drugs from being available on our market more quickly.

Furthermore, it is necessary to expedite the issuance of permits for clinical trials of new drugs, which in Serbia takes up to three times longer than in other European countries. Therefore, our country could lose millions of euros, and patients who desperately need new drugs could lose hope of recovery.

Increasing the number of clinical trials, on the one hand, attracts investments for new healthcare services, equipment, and infrastructure, doctors are further educated and involved in modern methods, and patients receive the most advanced therapy even before it becomes available on the market.

In conclusion, NALED members stated that the private sector in Serbia continues to grow and currently employs more than 25,000 healthcare workers, including 5,000 permanently employed doctors. They say that the system is ready for further integration with the state, primarily through data sharing and networking of IT systems, and then through expanding cooperation regarding the provision of state healthcare services at the expense of the Health Insurance Fund, which is currently practiced only for four services. This would reduce waiting lists and facilitate access for citizens.

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