Academic Education

Joint Action Between Academia and Government to Develop Digital Competencies for Health Professionals in Latvia Case Study

The University of Latvia (UoL) is one of the largest higher education institution in the Baltics with a century-long tradition of research and science-based education in the natural and social sciences, humanities, medicine, mathematics and computer science.

The goal of the Centre for Health Management and Informatics (CHMI) at the Faculty of Medicine is to promote and coordinate interdisciplinary applied research and educational projects in a respective field. Over the last five years, CHMI has been involved with research projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Welfare and State Centre for Disease Prevention. In the field of informatics, researchers from CHMI participated in health data related projects led by the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics (IMI) of UoL, devoted to elaboration of ontologies-based health data querying tools for non-programmers.

In 2016, the CHMI at the Faculty of Medicine at UoL, prepared and presented a proposal to the MoH of Latvia for a joint applied sciences project titled “Transparency and health care system data - towards public monitoring for quality and efficiency”. Due to common interests, this proposal was endorsed at the ministerial level, and the state CDPC was assigned as project partner. The participation of academia in the creation of the NHS performance assessment system and facilitated access to unique health data promotes the development of the promising field of health informatics (HI) and health systems research, and creates conditions necessary for the development of new, system-oriented competences for future health professionals. On the other hand, the task of ensuring the sustainability of the public health care system is increasingly challenging, as it is continuously affected by the concurrent growth of financial pressures and healthcare related societal expectations, as well as demands from policy makers and administrators.

The following case study discusses the current challenges facing the growth of health IT education and industry while exploring potential solutions through organizational partnerships in Latvia.