In Croatia, a significant system failure in the Central Health Information System (CEZIH) has left citizens unable to collect their prescription medications from pharmacies for the second consecutive day. The issue, according to Croatian news website Index.hr and as reported by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO), is preventing the retrieval of ePrescriptions, eReferrals, and eFindings, causing a significant disruption in the country’s healthcare services.
CEZIH is a crucial component of Croatia’s healthcare infrastructure, linking health institutions, pharmacies, laboratories, and private practices. It is responsible for storing patient health data and information necessary for standardized processing at various levels of healthcare. The system, owned by the Ministry of Health and operated by the national Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO), has been in operation since 2011.
The system crashed around noon two days ago, leaving doctors and pharmacists unable to issue referrals for examinations and prescriptions to patients. This failure has led to a halt in the dispensing of medications by pharmacies, and some patients have been unable to attend scheduled tests due to unavailable referrals in hospitals. Despite efforts by HZZO to resolve the issue, the problem persists, leaving many in a lurch.
Croatia has been on a path towards modernizing its healthcare and other government services, aligning with global trends in digitalization. The Croatian healthcare system is a universal healthcare system, where citizens have access to a wide range of medical services covered by mandatory health insurance. The government has been making efforts to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of healthcare services through digital platforms like CEZIH.
However, this is not the first time CEZIH has faced such issues. In July of this year, the system was non-functional for as many as five days due to an unsuccessful upgrade, as reported by HZZO. The upgrade led to difficulties for healthcare workers trying to connect securely to the CEZIH system, further highlighting the vulnerabilities in the critical healthcare infrastructure.
The failure has left many patients without essential medications and services, highlighting a critical area for improvement in Croatia’s healthcare system. The international community will be watching closely to see how Croatia handles this crisis and works to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Image source: Daniel Stockman
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