eHealth related activities that are supported by the EU-funded EaPConnect project were presented in a virtual event on 5 March 2021. The EU4Digital eHealth Virtual Event on Advanced Analytics Usage in Medical Images was the first virtual event in a series planned for this year. The EU4Digital ‘eHealth Network’ audience included representatives from the Ministries of Health and other institutions responsible for eHealth development in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries.

Dr. Peter Bogatencov, Chairman of the Management Board of RENAM, the Moldovan national research and education network (NREN), introduced the ‘EU4Digital: Connecting Research and Education Communities (EaPConnect)’ project.  He presented an overview of the project’s activities to provide network connectivity and services for research and education, as well as its capacity building, cooperation, and visibility raising work. The importance of the NRENs’ offer – dedicated infrastructure to collaborate in secure, reliable and cost-effective ways – was highlighted.

Two presentations then showcased work that is being supported by EaPConnect in Moldova and Belarus.

Alexandr Golubev of RENAM talked about ‘Fast NREN infrastructure adaptation for setting up the DICOM Network application’. The DICOM Network is designed to handle the generation, storage and usage of medical images; the presentation described its services and features for data collection,  archiving, access, visualisation and processing, its general architecture, and its integration with HIS (Hospital Information Systems. Peculiarities in deploying new solutions in the COVID-19 pandemic were also covered. At present, the DICOM Network connects 5 hospitals in Chisinau, Moldova, providing secure online access to medical examinations and helping doctors from the medical institutions in qualitative medical management. Interest in expanding similar work to other countries has been expressed.

Dr. Vassili Kovalev of the United Institute of Informatics Problems, Belarus National Academy of Sciences presented ‘AI-based computational web services on Medical Image Analysis’. He outlined the work of the Biomedical Image Analysis Group, past projects at a glance, and the role of Deep Learning in medical image analysis. Recent work on convolutional neural networks and their application in telemedicine systems – for MRI images, lung diagnosis, COVID-19 lesion detection and so on –  were also presented, as well as web-based computational services. He emphasised the possibility to generate realistic images using Generative Adversarial Networks in order to overcome the legal, ethical, and security limitations of medical image usage. Deep Learning needs huge computational resources, which are provided by BASNET, the Belarusian NREN. He also hightlighted the importance of international collaborations.

Participants at the EU4Digital eHealth event discussed some technical aspects, infrastructure and sustainability issues. EaPConnect’s activities overlap with other EU4Digital e-health activities, and many services provided by NRENs could serve the eHealth sector, sometimes becoming a part of medical systems. The EU4Digital eHealth Network aims to create more connections and opportunities for involvement within EaP countries.