• Taavi Salm

COVID-19 forces digitization in France

The current crisis has highlighted many weaknesses in France digital systems (and the lack thereof in some areas).


The most heavily hit by the uneven state of digitization is the medical sector.


The first hurdle they had to surpass was producing information to the public, the scientific community, the media, and health professionals, to follow the evolution of the epidemic (often in live). Faced with the difficulty of centralizing information, the lack of crisis management tools in real time or the reluctance of certain administrations when it comes to opening their data to the general public, the authorities have carried out a digital leap forward.


The main challenges included:

  • Santé publique France, the public agency responsible for monitoring the epidemic, did not create its account on the public data portal data.gouv.fr until March 18, the day after the first day of confinement. This is quite mind boggling as they are responsible for the data about the pandemic victims. Public opinion pressure forced them to publish their data digitally.

  • The medical sector needed a daily mapping of hospitalizations, intensive care beds and deaths linked to Covid-19. The private sector (Lior Perez, IT engineer at Météo-France, and Jérôme Desboeufs, Etalab developer) created one that became the official government dashboard

  • There was also a need for a live chart of the number of intensive care beds available. Multiple digital solutions are being developed but currently the system relies on manual data collection (Calls or local visits to medical center).


There are digital challenges in all sectors related to the pandemic. Transport, food, education and many more industries are trying to respond more efficiently to the crisis.

We should strive to share our positive experiences here in Estonia to France. It also opens export possibilities after the crisis as all these sectors will try to modernize their infrastructure to be ready for a new pandemic.

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