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International Cooperation

On 17 June, Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) hosted the conference Legal Aspects of Remote Healthcare Services: German and Baltic States Experience, which brought together around 250 professionals from the fields of law and medicine. Remote services in healthcare have significantly grown in importance in the wake of the pandemic. RSU marks its growing expertise in medical law, a field that brings together legal and healthcare professionals, with this conference. The first conference on medical law was held by RSU last year, and it is planned to hold this type of international scientific and practical event annually in the future.

According to the conference’s organiser, attorney-at-law Karina Palkova, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, who heads the Law doctoral programme at RSU, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of remote healthcare services; its importance will only increase with the development of digitalisation, robotics, artificial intelligence, and other areas. But alongside technical and practical issues, patients, doctors, and representatives of medical institution face legal challenges when providing remote consultations, amongst other things. The conference, which was organised with the support of the Baltic-German University Liaison Office, brought together international participants to highlight the importance of remote services and to find answers to a number of problematic legal issues. The participants who joined the conference both online and in-person included healthcare professionals, leaders and representatives of medical organisations, healthcare institutions, national and local authorities, legal practitioners, lawyers, judges, data specialists and students and researchers in these fields.

As RSU Rector, Professor Aigars Pētersons, emphasised at the opening of the event, the university is pursuing the path of interdisciplinary development with high ambitions, as future challenges will require solutions arising from the interaction of several disciplines. ‘One of the success stories of the interdisciplinarity of our university is to be found in the Faculty of Law. Here, the field of medical law is being developed very successfully. This is a field that is developing very rapidly on a global scale and covers elements of civil law, criminal law, international law, and other subdisciplines.’ Professor Jānis Grasis, Dean of the RSU Faculty of Law, adds that the faculty’s staff is actively working on developing medical law in Latvia and this conference is only one of the activities carried out during the academic year. Medical law covers a range of topical issues: legal aspects of the structure and functioning of the healthcare system, legal aspects of drug reimbursement mechanisms, legal requirements for medical institutions and medical practitioners, patients’ rights and data protection, sexual and reproductive health rights, legal liability of medical practitioners, and others.


RSU Rector, Prof. Pētersons addressing the conference participants


President of the European Association of Health Law, Professor K. H. Søvig, took part in the conference remotely

In the first part of the conference, Professor Karl Harald Søvig, President of the European Association of Health Law, outlined the specificities of the legal framework for remote healthcare services in the European Union and gave an overview of the Norwegian legal framework for telemedicine services. Meanwhile, the global context in the development of telemedicine services was highlighted by Dr. Uldis Mitenbergs, Head of the World Health Organisation Representation in Latvia. The rights, duties and safety of patients and doctors were highlighted by the President of the Latvian Medical Association, Dr. Ilze Aizsilniece. Three lawyers added to the international perspective: Professor Erik Hahn presented the legal framework of telemedicine in Germany, as well as the latest case law on remote healthcare services; Professor Viktoras Justickis from Lithuania addressed the conference participants on the diagnosis of rare and dangerous diseases through remote consultations; attorney-at-law Silja Elunurm, who is the Head of the Health System Development Department of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, presented the Estonian eHealth strategy on remote healthcare services and digitisation in healthcare.

The second part of the conference was devoted to national issues. For example, Andreta Slavinska, Deputy Director of the RSU Medical Education Technology Centre, raised the issue of the right to safety for medical practitioners. Dace Tarasova, lecturer at the RSU Faculty of Law, who is a candidate for a scientific degree, spoke about the current issues and challenges of the Treatment Risk Fund in the context of telemedicine. Laura Šāberte, a candidate for a scientific degree, presented paper Administrative liability for performance of vaccination with an age-inappropriate SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in the Republic of Latvia while criminal law aspects, including in the field of telemedicine, were raised by attorney-at-law Aldis Lieljuksis, Associate Professor at RSU, in his paper Medical Documents as Evidence in Criminal Proceedings.


Conference organisers and participants at Rīga Stradiņš University

The conference was organised in the framework of the Baltic-German University Liaison Office project. The project of the Baltic-German University Liaison Office is financially supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) from funds provided by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.