How e-Health ramps up Public Safety amidst COVID-19 in Estonia


In the Baltic state of Estonia, e-health services was incepted somewhere in the mid-2000s. The service provides two-way benefits. The service involves patient to have access to prescription during a visit, and for doctor to have comprehensive insights into ongoing treatments and into patient’s current state of health.

The system quickly evolved to be a sophisticated one. Of e-health services, digital prescription attached to the personal code and accessible using Estonian ID-card is of most value.

“The e-prescription is a no-brainer,” says Priit Tohver, adviser of digital services innovation at Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. It does not require patients to be digitally literate. All it requires is patient to go to their preferred pharmacy and present their Estonian ID-card.

The service is useful for doctors too. They can renew a prescription remotely within 10 – 15 seconds. Besides this, the system automatically updates the doctor of drug interaction issues if any. This could be related to inefficacy or even counter-productivity of the prescribed drug.

Then came COVID-19. Estonian doctors are working as hard as doctors anywhere in the world to contain the virus and ultimately push back the pandemic. With the scale of the pandemic, it is evident technology should and can play an important role.

Speedy Transfer of Information foremost Advantage

Meanwhile, in Estonia, the information of new infections is transferred straight from laboratories to the e-Health system. This enables patients to access their data quickly and policymakers have access to the most updated information at their disposal. The spontaneous developments in response to the crisis are taken care as well using the system.

For instance, in response to the crisis, the government quickly enabled citizens to register and apply for sick leave or care leave online. The difference is the system was digital previously too, but had to be initiated by the doctor.

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