Estonian residents are in favour of implementing the Electronic Health Record

Press Release Summary
August 8, 2008

Estonian residents are in favour of implementing the Electronic Health Record

Two health care related research projects carried out by TNS Emor show that doctors and patients both are mostly in favour of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system that will be implemented this fall. Almost three third of Estonian residents are in favour of the EHR. 97% of doctors and 57% of residents have heard about the EHR.

Almost three thirds (71%) of the people who have heard about the EHR are in favour of it. Madis Tiik, the leader of the Estonian eHealth Foundation indicates that health care organisations will begin sending the first health records of patients to the EHR system already within the coming months, and within five years all medical documentation used in Estonia will become electronic. “This is a very big step forward in Estonian healthcare for the quality of health care as well as the awareness of people of their health will increase,” said Tiik.

The recent research done by TNS Emor indicates that majority (77%) of the doctors who are familiar with the electronic health record are in favour of implementing the system. According to doctors the main benefit of the EHR is that all information on patients’ exams and consultations are available from one location regardless of the health care facility patient saw a doctor. Doctors viewed as the main weaknesses of the system that initially it can be too time consuming to enter and retrieve information from the system as well as the reliability of the system during power failure, for instance.

There will be three other eHealth services put to use parallel to the EHR: Digital Prescription (prescription medications can be purchased from any pharmacy by presenting a personal identification document), Digital Registration (enables patients to book and cancel appointment times over the patient’s web portal), Digital Image (enables health care institutions the access to a central image databank that contains patient’s x-ray images and other high volume research data). The Estonian eHealth projects are financed from the European Union Structural Funds. The budget for drafting eHealth bill and implementing the four eHealth projects is 36 million EEK.

The technical solution of the Electronic Health Record was developed by Hewlett-Packard, a technology company that has developed health sector information technological solutions in UK, Spain, Austria, Ireland and Lithuania. Microlink Estonia has also contributed to the IT solution development of the Estonian Electronic Health Record.

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