JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Informatics in the Croatian health care system]

Josipa Kern, Marija Strnad
Acta Medica Croatica: C̆asopis Hravatske Akademije Medicinskih Znanosti 2005, 59 (3): 161-8
16095187
Informatization process of the Croatian health care system started relatively early. Computer processing of data of persons not covered by health insurance started in 1968 in Zagreb. Remetinec Health Center served as a model of computer data processing (CDP) in primary health care and Sveti Duh General Hospital in inpatient CDP, whereas hospital administration and health service were first introduced to Zagreb University Hospital Center and Sestre Milosrdnice University Hospital. At Varazdin Medical Center CDP for health care services started in 1970. Several registries of chronic diseases have been established: cancer, psychosis, alcoholism, and hospital registries as well as pilot registries of lung tuberculosis patients and diabetics. Health statistics reports on healthcare services, work accidents and sick-leaves as well as on hospital mortality started to be produced by CDP in 1977. Besides alphanumeric data, the modern information technology (IT) can give digital images and signals. Communication in health care system demands a standardized format of all information, especially for telemedicine. In 2000, Technical Committee for Standardization in Medical Informatics was founded in Croatia, in order to monitor the activities of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and Comite Européen de Normalisation (CEN), and to implement their international standards in the Croatian standardization procedure. The HL7 Croatia has also been founded to monitor developments in the communication standard HL7. So far, the Republic of Croatia has a number of acts regulating informatization in general and consequently the informatization of the health care system (Act on Personal Data Confidentiality, Act on Digital Signature, Act of Standardization) enacted. The ethical aspect of data security and data protection has been covered by the Code of Ethics for medical informaticians. It has been established by the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA), and the Croatian Society of Medical Informatics (CSMI) has translated it into Croatian and published it on its website. Based on a survey of medical staff attitudes toward health care system informatization, the Croatian health system appears to be ready for informatization. The only requirement is that the present and future health care providers have appropriate medical informatics education, proper computer equipment at their workplace, and an opportunity to participate in the development and/or improvement of the health information system. One of the EU health strategy priorities is the improvement of health information and knowledge. It means that integrated health information systems are required, i.e. systems able to provide key information on health and health care system to the politicians, health professionals and public in general.

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