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On the 30th of June, the first of the EIT Health Morning Health Talks of 2022 took place. The topic of this talk was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on digital health care. During the talk experts Terje Peetso, who is a member of the management board of North Estonia Medical Centre, and Tarja Heponiemi, who is a research professor from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare shared their experiences. The talk was moderated by the director of the International Department of Riga Stradiņš University Baiba Pētersone.


Terje Peetso gave an insight into the range of digital services implemented in the North Estonia Medical Center, including eAmbulance and specialist-specialist e-consultation practices, the development of which was promoted by the Covid-19 pandemic. These tools are still used to provide more prompt assistance to patients, as well as to ensure the availability of medical services for those living in more remote regions.

Tarja Heponiemi introduced listeners to a project DigiIN Towards socially inclusive digital society, which takes place in Finland. This project aims to create solutions that will ensure that the social welfare and healthcare sector’s digital services are available and accessible to everyone. The research done within the framework of the project indicates that the increasing digital services may also continue to increase inequality in society, thus leaving people that are more socially or financially vulnerable excluded from receiving essential services. Heponiemi emphasizes that “results of the research highlight importance of needs-based services and need of adequate support and guidance for the use of the continuously developing devices and applications. Digital services must be improved using plain language and interactivity and by making it easier to find information.”

About experts

Dr. Terje Peetso is a member of the management board of the North Estonia Medical Centre and is responsible for the coordination of research and innovation activities while cooperating with hospitals in Estonia and abroad. Vast and versatile experience gained during 15 years at the European Commission working in the fields of digital health, tobacco control, and risk assessment, additionally she was the Head of Sector on eHealth and Ageing Policy at the European Commission’s DG CONNECT. Dr. Peetso holds a diploma in medicine from the University of Tartu, Estonia.

Tarja Heponiemi, Ph.D. is a research professor from Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) with a special research focus on health and social care services. Heponiemi. has a wide research spectrum – health informatics, healthcare employees’ workload, attitudes, and work roles, and special interest in the effect of digitalization of services on professionals and clients. Participation and leading roles in large-scale projects such as DigiIN (where she is a head of the consortium) and COPE.

The EIT Health Morning Health Talks are dedicated to convening regional leaders to help map best practices and common challenges of digital health solutions. The primary audience of talks held in Latvia are senior managers of hospitals and medical staff.

Since 2020 The EIT Morning Health Talks are organized by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Health) representation center in Latvia (EIT RIS Center), that is coordinated by Riga Stradiņš University International Department. Next talk will take place at the end of 2022.