Estonian Halthcare System Benefits from Digitization

Governor Tom Wolfe // CC

The northernmost Baltic state is in the overall comparison quite successful in fighting the COVID-19-pandemics. To this success contributed among other things the central electronic health system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a hard test for healthcare systems all around the world. At the beginning of 2020, the situation in Estonia was relatively calm; the hospitals handled the situation well. The negative expectations about the crisis did not fulfill.

Now, when the winter brought about a substantially higher infection rate, the virus-tracking proved itself to be very effective. This is promising.

Promising are also the many useful innovations accomplished in the healthcare system, which led to a considerably higher level of accessibility and effectivity. As usual, the use of digital solutions plays a crucial part in Estonia.

The basic element represents the Electronic Health Record (e-Health Record) that every patient can access online. This system integrates data from different Estonian healthcare providers to create a common record for the whole nation.

This tool allows doctors to access patient’s records directly from a single, central electronic file. The doctors can thus read various test results – e.g. image files from X-ray – in the very moment they are typed in. This is possible even from remote hospitals.

To ensure the data protection, the KSI blockchain technology is being used.

Beside that, there is an instrument called e-Ambulance, which can detect and locate a phone call within 30 seconds. Thanks to this, the emergency ambulance can be sent to the required spot very fast to provide the necessary assistance.

Moreover, in case of an emergency, the doctor can use a patient’s ID code to read information about his blood type, allergies, recent treatments, on-going medication, or pregnancy.

Last, but not least, there is a system for issuing and handling the medical prescriptions in a centralized and paperless way (e-Prescription). The doctor prescribes the medicine with the help of an online form.

As a result, a patient who then goes to the pharmacy simply has to show his ID-card. The pharmacist then retrieves the patient’s information from the system and issues the medicine.

This entry was originally published in German at:

Continue exploring:

Estonia-US Relations after Joe Biden’s Victory

INESS Publishes Health for Money 2020


Risto Kaljurand
Academy of Liberalism
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom