Tatarstan to modernise e-health care system

Electronic Health Care of the Republic of Tatarstan Unified State Information System was down again on 20 January, but the Ministry of Digitalisation promises to achieve “failure-free operation of all public information system”

Tatarstan to modernise e-health care system
Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

There was a failure in the Tatarstan electronic health care system on 20 January morning — it became impossible to make an appointment with a doctor through the website of state services of the Republic of Tatarstan. The problem unleashed a storm of addresses to the resource’s technical support, so it wasn’t easy to reach out to the specialists. Neither was it possible to make an appointment with doctors through Kazan polyclinics — here it was said about technical problems and that “the programme wasn’t functioning across the city”. The error was eliminated quickly — in less than an hour. However, as practice shows, such problems aren’t uncommon for the Unified State Health Сare Information System of the Republic of Tatarstan. Read more about this failure, causes of often denials of online appointments and ways of solving the problem in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Electronic Health Care’s problems

Residents of Tatarstan faced difficulties when trying to make an appointment with a doctor through the portal of state services of the Republic of Tatarstan on 20 January morning. At first, the resource stubbornly failed to find data of Compulsory Medical Insurance policy, and some time later the page had a stub with the message: “Dear user, the service is unavailable due to preventive maintenance”.

Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent decided to contact the technical support to find out when the service would be available again. However, this turned out to be not so easy — she had to be on the phone for over 20 minutes waiting for her turn.

“Maintenance is performed now. We don’t know how much time it can take. Our specialists are aware of the problem, work is in progress. I can just say that it isn’t the error of the portal but the system of the Ministry of Health,” the other side of the line said.

Residents of Tatarstan faced difficulties when trying to make an appointment with a doctor through the website of state services of the Republic of Tatarstan on 20 January morning

The press service of the Ministry of Digitalisation of the Republic of Tatarstan also said about problems of the Unified State Health Сare Information System of the Republic of Tatarstan.

“The portal of Tatarstan State Services is an integrator where external information systems interact and exchange data there. In this case, there is an interaction with the Unified State Health Сare Information System of the Republic of Tatarstan to make an appointment with a doctor. Nowadays the Tatarstan Health Care system has problems, while the website closed until the error is eliminated,” Press Secretary of the Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation Veronika Doronina commented.

Modernisation of whole system

The problem that arose in the morning was solved quickly — the waiting time was just 47 minutes. Nevertheless, if we look at ordinary Tatarstan residents and doctors’ comments, it quite often becomes a problem to make an appointment online.

“Every polyclinic/hospital uploads doctors’ schedule to the portal of Tatarstan State Services themselves, directly. In most cases, it isn’t possible to make an appointment because a hospital/polyclinic has problems when publishing the schedule. The system itself has failures at times, but they are solved quite quickly, like today,” the press service of the Ministry of Digitalisation of the Republic of Tatarstan explains the causes of frequent failures.

The ministry also said that the republic “plans to modernise the whole electronic health care system in the next years”, which is to exclude the repetition of such cases. The Tatarstan Ministry of Digitalisation isn’t revealing the details so far. It is just known that doctor and patient orientation, data centricity and urging citizens to care about their health are among the priorities.

If we look at ordinary Tatarstan residents and doctors’ comments, it quite often becomes a problem to make an appointment online. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Current architecture is reliable enough

It should be stressed that this failure wasn’t linked with the portal of Tatarstan State Services. However, it has had different problems in the last months.

There was a mass failure in a number of official resources of Tatarstan just in December. Users said from the very morning that they couldn’t access the website of State Services, the website of different republican ministries and agencies that used the platform tatarstan.ru were out of service too. Something similar happened on 9 October: the Tatarstan state services website was down for a couple of hours, as well as the websites of the State Council of the republic and some other ministries. The browser showed Error 503 when trying to access the above-enumerated resources.

In a talk with Realnoe Vremya, Director General of Etton IT company Yefim Klimov assumed that “the architecture created once probably didn’t presuppose such an amount of data”, which could be the reason for the frequent failures.

“The current architecture is reliable enough,” the press service of the Ministry of Digitalisation of the Republic of Tatarstan commented. “An internal monitoring system is used on the portal of services, thanks to which recovery time is minimised. Works to provide fault tolerance, controllability of information systems, optimisation of the code of the software. Of course, there is room for growth — the goal we set is a failure-free operation of all public information systems of Tatarstan. Denis Ulesov has been appointed as the new director general of the Centre for Information Technologies of the Republic of Tatarstan precisely today, one of his tasks will be providing the highest fault tolerance of the State Information System.”

By Lina Sarimova
Analytics Tatarstan