Digital Health in Armenia

Armenia is a middle-income country located in the Caucasus region. The GDP per capita is 4,266 US$ (2020 data), 11.34% of which is spent on health.8,9 The life expectancy at birth is 75 years.9 There are 4.2 hospital beds and 2.9 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants. 10 Around 63% of the population resides in urban areas.11 Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia.

 

The multi-stage development of digital health in Armenia began in the early 2000s. With the support of international organizations, the Ministry of Health of Armenia first launched the electronic medical records system, the aim of which was to collect, monitor, and manage data on inpatient services provided under the state order. This system was further developed in 2009 and began to operate in more than 150 medical institutions in the country.

 

In December 2008, a group of doctors and ICT specialists established the Armenian Association of Telemedicine (AATM). The latter was a non-profit, non-governmental organization aiming to develop telemedicine and eHealth in Armenia. The organization has played an important role in campaigning for a centralized holistic approach to integrating medical ICT into the healthcare system of Armenia.12Later, AATM expanded its scope of activities and was renamed the Armenian Digital Health Association (AADH).

 

In 2009-2010, the Armenian government developed a concept for the implementation of an integrated electronic information system. This concept was aimed at designing and developing a nationwide eHealth information system that would be available to all health care providers and would help to effectively analyze the effectiveness of treatment, manage the services provided and improve the quality of medical care. This concept was approved in 2012-2013, the implementation of which was assigned to the government agency called the Electronic Governance Infrastructure Implementation Agency (EKENG).

In 2015-2016, the ARMED system was developed, focused on the development of an e-health system for the needs of the population of Armenia. The latter is managed and operated by the National e-Health Operator (NEO) Closed Joint Stock Company.

 

Today, ARMED operates in the State Health Agency (SHA), in about 500 health and 6 insurance companies. The main functions of the ARMED include registration and accounting of state orders for disease cases.

There are several government decrees, laws and ministerial orders in Armenia that govern digital health. “The Law on Medical Care and Services to the Population”, first adopted in 1996, underwent significant changes in 2018, which touched upon and included essential aspects of digital health. A later version of the document was approved in 2020 and is now considered the main regulatory document for telemedicine and eHealth.

“The Law on Personal Data Protection”, adopted in 2015, governs the collection and processing of data. Its essence is to ensure the consent of an individual to the processing, use and transfer of personal data for certain purposes.

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