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Estonian president: Time for governments to invest in technology

It is time that governments start investing in technology by automating many operations, but also changing all of society, as has been done in Estonia, President Kersti Kaljulaid said in an interview with Norway's leading paper Aftenposten.

“It is high time for governments to come together and acknowledge that they have to invest in technology that benefits their people,” ERR News quotes Kaljulaid’s interview to Aftenposten. “This not only concerns automating processes in factories, but also changing all of society like we have done in Estonia. Transition to a digital society takes place in cooperation with the authorities, the economic sector and residents.”

Aftenposten reported that Estonia has been very successful in digitization, as it was the first country to switch to the digitization of its public services, including the healthcare and school system as well as elections. According to Aftenposten, 99 percent of services in Estonia are accessible online.

“With a digital ID, like we have in Estonia, it is possible to save lives,” the Estonian president said, noting that the healthcare sector is especially important when it comes to digitization. “For instance, when you are in an accident and need to be taken away by the ambulance, it is possible to log into your medical history in the ambulance and check your medical record. I believe we would all allow the ambulance crew to do that if our life were in danger.”

Kaljulaid’s wish is that all EU citizens could have access to medical care throughout in the EU, Atenposten reported. For instance, if a German citizen fells ill in Greece, a local doctor would have access to the person’s medical history when treating them.

It is important that citizens are included and they understand that using digitization is safe and reliable, she said.

According to Kaljulaid, Estonia is also not the only country in Europe that uses the digitization of public services. For example, Finland, like Estonia, also uses the X-Road platform, and Luxembourg and Germany are also moving in the direction of digitization.

Kaljulaid is to attend the Aftenposten technology conference in October.

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