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HomeEstoniaDigital prescriptions of Estonians, Latvians now moving across borders

Digital prescriptions of Estonians, Latvians now moving across borders

Starting Thursday, citizens of Estonia and Latvia will be able to use cross-border digital prescription and health data summary services in each other’s countries.

This step marks an important development in healthcare cooperation between the two countries, making Latvia already the 11th country with which Estonia practices such data exchange.

For Estonians visiting Latvia, this means the availability of prescription drugs in local pharmacies based on an Estonian digital prescription. In addition, medical professionals have the opportunity to consult health data summaries, if necessary, in order to provide patients with the best possible treatment in the event of an emergency. Latvian citizens have the same possibilities in Estonia.

“While Estonia and Finland were the first countries in the European Union to start exchanging digital prescriptions across borders already in 2019, the joy is even greater now that Latvia has joined. The free movement of services is one of the basic principles of the European Union: for it to work, the cross-border movement of data is also necessary. The possibility to get one’s prescription medicine from a pharmacy in another country or, if necessary, to share one’s health data with a doctor in another country is more than just a convenience — it is also a piece of security and togetherness,” Nele Labi, deputy secretary general for innovation at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said.

“I am glad that, in addition to Finland, we have also been able to open services with our southern neighbors,” Margus Arm, director of the Estonian Health and Welfare Information Systems Center (TEHIK), said. “Statistics show that the cross-border digital prescription service is used most in neighboring countries, and we have been waiting a long time for Latvia to join. First of all, this is good news for the residents of Valga and Valka on the border, but this news is also topical in a wider sense, considering the soon-to-start tourist season. The exchange of health data between EU member states greatly simplifies travel, as people no longer have to worry about their health data and the availability of prescription drugs.”

For Estonians, the process in Latvia is as simple as it is at home: going to a pharmacy with an ID-card or passport allows the pharmacist to access e-prescriptions based on the personal identification code. Health record summaries may be requested by a healthcare professional for unexpected medical needs, such as trauma.

To date, 25 European countries have joined the cross-border data exchange project, opening their digital prescription and health data summary services according to national possibilities. In addition to Latvia, full data exchange with Estonia is already operational with Spain, Croatia, Greece and Portugal. Services are partially open with the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, France, Finland and the Czech Republic. In the near future, the accession of Lithuania and Cyprus is expected, as well as the expansion of Czech and Finnish services.

Source: BNS

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