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Supporting Serbia’s coordination body for health information system strengthening

People look at a laptop screen together at a workshop.
Health information system stakeholders in Serbia gather at a workshop in 2022 to develop a two-year action plan related to the country's eHealth strategy.

CHISU provides technical support to Serbia’s eHealth coordination body created by the country’s government in 2023. This builds on previous work that started in 2021, when CHISU helped analyze Serbia’s health care situation and develop a five-year eHealth strategy and a two-year action plan. This work helped form the backbone of the country's health information system (HIS) digital transformation as well as advanced the vision of the Prime Minister’s office for digital transformation.

Serbia’s coordination body helps to strengthen Serbia’s HIS leadership and governance by ensuring continuity in cooperation among health institutions and other stakeholders—and to ensure activities’ continuity and resilience in the face of leadership changes.  

In the country’s previous coordination body (which ended with the former government), members included representatives of health institutions (including the Ministry of Health, Institute of Public Health of Serbia [IPH] Batut, Health Insurance Fund, chambers and associations of health workers, patient association, Ministry of Defense, etc.). Members of the new health coordination body are ministers from various government sectors in Serbia, including the Ministry of Science, Ministry of Telecommunications, and the Ministry of Finance.

The new eHealth coordination body has formed three working groups:

  • Working group for standards and architecture of software solutions for establishing a central component which would connect existing systems, and which will provide a proposal for the architecture of a national information system with a focus on electronic health record (EHR).
  • Working group for the legal framework, i.e., writing amendments to the law on medical records and records in the health field, in order to enable EHR functioning.
  • Working group to support the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices for improving procedures and their implementation, both for clinical trials and for the registration of new drugs—with the aim to increase the number of approved clinical trials and shorten the procedures for approval. 

CHISU activities will focus on the work of the first working group around standards and architecture, where the program is supporting two consultants who will define the technical specification of future software solutions.

To do this, the consultants are preparing a document defining the architecture and standards for the national HIS with a focus on electronic health records. They will then create a data model and a structural and functional model for the electronic health record. These technical documents will later assist Serbia’s ministry of health when it looks for vendors that will consolidate the electronic health records in accordance with the standards proposed by the consultants and validated by the working group. 

The support CHISU is providing to these consultants is an important step in strengthening Serbia’s HIS enabling environment. Laying a strong foundation for HIS governance is crucial for the country going forward. CHISU will contribute to the development of a follow-on action plan for the implementation of the Digital Health Program in the healthcare system, since the current plan expires at the end of 2023. CHISU will continue implementation of HIS activities in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders in Serbia.

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