The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a grant of USD 422,786 to the Romanian Ministry of Health for a feasibility study on a health telecommunications project to be deployed in Romania’s rural and isolated areas.
The Healthcare Ministry was forced last year to close 68 rural hospitals, making healthcare services scarce for rural Romanians who comprise 45 percent of the country’s population.
A pilot telemedicine project is already working in Tulcea (Danube Delta Area) and connects ten family physicians offices with the local emergency hospital.
The USTDA-supported feasibility study will develop an implementation plan to roll this system in ten hospitals.
The study will be conducted by International Development & Technical Assistance LLC and authorities hope this program will be implemented across the country.
“Romania currently operates a national telemedicine system that links emergency ambulances and the reception centers for medical data. There are over 100 hospitals that are connected at an emergency level with three reception centers,” explained Raed Arafat, state sub-secretary in the Ministry of Health.
Romania is in the process of implementing an integrated health information system, which includes the introduction of a health card, electronic medical records, and electronic prescriptions.
Duane Butcher, the deputy chief of mission, said the USTDA has supported the Romanian IT&C sector for 20 years and this latest initiative will increase the access to healthcare.
“Among the programs that were recently closed there was a study for the implementation of an electronic system for monitoring elections, as well as studies on the implementation of a national system for the management of emergency situations and of mobile communication technologies.
Butcher added the US Government will continue to invest in the Romanian IT system, and is targeting other sectors like transportation and renewable energy.