The connection between human rights and eHealth was at the heart of the discussions during early October, when a group of researchers and representatives from the Ministry of Health from Belarus visited the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund.
During 2019 the group has worked on an applied research project regarding the human rights implications of the digitalization of health services in Belarus. The purpose of the visit to Sweden was to meet with academic experts on human rights and eHealth from Lund University, as well as to learn more about Swedish experiences related to eHealth reform. Of particular interest to the group was how digitalization affects the relation between medical staff and patients, and the human rights issues that might arise in this process.
Why is a human rights perspective crucial when discussing eHealth?
Elena Konnova, Director of the Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of International Relations at the Belarusian State University, points to issues of privacy, personal data and how certain vulnerable groups might be affected in terms of access when healthcare services are digitalized.
Watch Elena Konnova’s answer to this question below:
During their stay at RWI, the group had the possibility to meet with Swedish experts on the provision of e-health services and systems in Sweden in order to better understand the practical implications of eHealth reform and what lessons that could be learned from the Swedish experience.
Dolores Öhman, an expert on eHealth and sustainability, highlighted the importance of having a human rights approach when healthcare services are becoming digitalized. Based on her work with eHealth reform on a regional level in the South of Sweden (Region Skåne), she noted that certain groups may struggle to adapt to the digitalization of healthcare systems, leading to inequalities in access to health services.
Watch Dolores Öhman’s full take on practical experience of the importance of human rights perspective on e-health below:
Aliaksei Kralko, Head of the Republican Center for Drug Treatment Monitoring and Preventology, states that the best take-away from the visit to RWI was the opportunity to compare the Swedish and Belarusian work with eHealth. He also hopes that the Belarusian experience with eHealth could serve as an example for other countries in the future.
Watch the whole interview with Aliaksei Kralko below ( turn on CC for English subtitles) :
The research carried out by the group will be of great importance for the ongoing development of a unified Belarusian system of eHealth, according to Andrei Babchanok, Head of the Legal Department of The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus. He notes that there are challenges linked to the implementation of eHealth in Belarus, but also underlines the benefits in terms of patient participation and increased access to information for both patients and medical staff.
Watch the whole interview with Andrei Babchanok below (turn on CC for English subtitles):