Luxembourg plans digital upgrade to weather future crises
Luxembourg is planning six new digital projects to help businesses and the health sector better cope with future crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, Economy Minister Franz Fayot announced on Monday.
The plans, which aim to make the country's economy more digital-friendly by 2025, include an online business platform which will give companies advice on how to securely use their personal data and intellectual property rights. Companies will also be provided with training kits on how to effectively use artificial intelligence.
It comes amid criticism of online access to government services in Luxembourg, which has improved in recent years but lags far behind other EU states, such as Estonia, which digitised most of its public health system a decade ago.
Access to online systems was brought into sharp focus last year when the pandemic forced many in-person services to be halted.
“This roadmap is our instrument to help relaunch [the economy] after Covid and to make our economy more resilient,” Fayot said in a press release.
The scheme will see the Grand Duchy create an online Cloud platform, aimed in particular at SMEs, where businesses can organise more of their administrative tasks online, such as the signing of documents.
The platform will also connect local and regional shops, with the aim of helping smaller businesses compete with larger retailers.
An online database of medical products and supply chains is also in the pipeline, to enable Luxembourg to be prepared for future public health crises. The database will allow users to check what stocks are available in the country, and how much additional medical equipment is required.
Luxembourg's government has admitted struggling to keep track of important data. In March, health minister Paulette Lenert acknowledged that her officials had lost track of important details about who was dying from Covid-19 because they were overwhelmed trying to manage the crisis.
Last month the government confirmed plans to digitalise a key part of the health sector by alleviating the administrative burden for anyone who has ever visited a doctor, announcing that people will no longer have to send their medical bills by post to be reimbursed as of 2023.
It comes after remote video appointments between patients and doctors became possible at the start of the pandemic and follows the introduction of online registration for electoral polls and applications to vote in 2019.
As part of Luxembourg's plans to make the health care system more digital the national health fund is expected to launch a mobile app this summer to allow patients to electronically download drug prescriptions and doctor's notes, according to a government press release. The CNS (Caisse Nationale de Santé) also wants at least 30% of doctors to be able to work digitally by next month, according to the ministry.