How Estonia’s health system is using innovation to tackle COVID-19

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Estonia’s health system is using innovation

Below, we’ll take a look at how Estonia’s health system is using innovation to tackle COVID-19. The service is not only digitally developed, but also strives to constantly innovate. The secrets? Tech development, and entrepreneurship.

Unlike several EU countries, the Baltic is handling corona well. It imposed lockdowns, and adapted to the situation’s needs. In this region, a particular country stood out. This regards Estonia, which became popular for its health system. Why? One reason: digital development.

When the pandemic hit, health services had to adapt quickly. GP’s had to figure out how to provide advice, while avoiding appointments. Pharmacy’s had to prevent long queues from forming. For Estonia, this was remarkably easier. For more than a decade, the country’s health system has been digital.

Several aspects of Estonia’s health are digitalized. An example is patient data: 99% of it is online. Patients can check it, and choose who can access it through a platform. Records include past illnesses, but also applied treatments.

Mechanisms like the above, make online appointments much easier. By quickly looking at records, doctors can easily have an idea of patient history. This makes appointments quicker, and decreases the need for patients to be physically present.

Another way through which Estonia’s health system is using innovation to tackle COVID-19 regards prescriptions. The process is also digital. Through it, people only need to call or email their doctor. He then issues an e-prescription, which can be used in e-pharmacies. This has turned out quite useful: a major corona concern is the formation of queues.

Another Estonian secret regards the power of startups. Accelerate Estonia, a platform with state funding, regularly hosts hackathons. These contribute to a regular upgrade of digital public services. A recent example is “Hack the Crisis”. This event resulted in several ideas, such as a platform connecting vulnerable people to volunteers.

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