Expansion of Electronic Health System Continues

By extending internet services to all villages, the government aims to lay the groundwork for the full implementation of the National Electronic Health Network
Expansion of Electronic  Health System Continues Expansion of Electronic  Health System Continues

Nearly 5,000 villages will be connected to the internet within the next month and start receiving online medical services.

“Among the 18,000 villages in the country, about 5,000 still do not have internet access, and they will be connected by the end of the fiscal year that ends in March 2017,” said Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi.

He was speaking at a signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding for the project with Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi on Tuesday.

By extending internet services to all villages, the government aims to lay the foundation for full implementation of the National Electronic Health Network, IRNA reported.

“The network is one of the important projects of the Health Ministry, which aims to bring about transparency, increase and facilitate access to health services, and reduce costs for the general public,” Hashemi said.

Infrastructure needed for full execution of e-health services is almost ready, but its completion requires all residential areas across the country to have access to the internet. “I can say with certainty that this will be done by the end of November,” Vaezi stressed.

The Communications Ministry was given 90 billion rials ($2.5 million) by the Health Ministry in the previous government to prepare the infrastructure for implementing the National Electronic Health Network, but the project was halted due to unannounced administrative difficulties.

“Now we are here to implement our side of the agreement,” he added.

Expressing readiness to cooperate with the Health Ministry on all e-projects, Vaezi said the Communications Ministry “will do its utmost to help ensure equitable and accessible e-health services to the people.”

  Reducing Fraud, Corruption

Expansion of electronic services has helped reduce corruption, fraud and red tape in systems employing e-services, he noted.

“In the health sector, electronic system is seen to be cost-effective for both the people and the government. It will reduce smuggling of pharmaceuticals and health products by a great margin and minimize corruption as well as unnecessary services by physicians,” said Hashemi.

  E-Health Records

The most important part of the project is medical treatment services that will take off before other services with the registering of electronic health records. People will have access to a better referral system and faster services, and thus avoid unnecessary trips to medical facilities or administrative centers.

E-health records have been created for nearly 50 million people so far, and the remaining 30 million will have their e-health files by the end of the government’s tenure in mid-2017.

A joint working committee has also been set up between the two ministries to oversee the project implementation progress.

“Another issue is delegating some administrative and executive tasks to the private sector,” Vaezi said without elaboration.

Noting that the electronic health system in Iran is still in its infancy, the minister said it “will take about 5-6 years to fully mature.”

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