According to the survey, all hospitals in Malta surveyed are connected with broadband which is equally distributed over the different broadband speeds. For single and unified wireless infrastructure and integrated system for eReferral, Maltese hospitals are close to the EU average.
However, the remaining indicators for Malta are all below EU average. There appears not to be a single EPR shared by all departments or telemonitoring in Maltese hospitals. Malta national eHealth vision was to be published for public consultation in 2007. Since 2005, the government‟s main focus in the domain of ICT in health has been on the implementation of an integrated health information system for all Malta‟s public hospitals and health centres.
While the Information Management and Technology Directorate in the country's newly established Mater Dei hospital manages almost a hundred different IT systems which support the delivery of clinical services to patients and the management of hospital service, its website nevertheless observes with some acuity:
“Not all patient records at Mater Dei hospital are kept electronically. The largest volume of patient information is still stored within 450,000 volumes of patient files, all managed by the Medical Records Department. These files occupy 5.5km of shelf space, i.e. the same as the distance from Valletta to the airport. Over 1,000 of these files are loaned out every working day to clinics and wards, and an equivalent number returned.”
The survey concludes that European hospitals are more advanced than US hospitals in terms of external medical exchange, but they lag behind in using eHealth to view laboratory reports or radiology images. The survey provides useful data for the work of the EU eHealth Task Force on assessing the role of information and communications technologies (ICT) in health and social care, which is due to suggest ways for ICT to speed up innovation in healthcare to the benefit of patients, carers and the healthcare sector.
The EU eHealth Task Force met for the first time in Budapest on 10th May on the margins of eHealth week (10-12 May). The deployment of eHealth technologies in Europe, with a view to improving the quality of health care, reducing medical costs and fostering independent living for those needing care, is a key objective of the Digital Agenda for Europe, which for example sets a 2015 deadline for giving patients online access to their medical data.
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, said "The potential of eHealth for delivering better and sustainable care to every European is enormous. I expect the eHealth Task Force to creatively think through the possible consequences and opportunities of the digital area for the way we receive and deliver healthcare and manage our health in the years to come."
John Dalli, European commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy said: " I believe eHealth tools can help provide better care, to more people, in a more sustainable and efficient manner. There is a clear need in Europe to exploit the potential of eHealth to deliver concrete solutions for patients: innovative tools for chronic disease management and the use of telemedicine to lessen the impact of health workforce shortages are examples of the immense added value of ICT in health. It is imperative that interoperable ICT systems and medical devices complement our initiative to give patients the right to cross-border health care. ICT is also an important tool to help us in our endeavour to achieve sustainability and redress inequalities in health care".