Health Information System will soon suggest treatments to doctors

Family doctors' advice hotline.
Family doctors' advice hotline. Source: ERR

The government decided at its Thursday session to amend the statute of the Health Information System (TIS), which will create an automatic data exchange for communicable disease data and make it possible for the system to offer treatment recommendations to family doctors.

The changes to the TIS allow for the introduction of a family doctor's clinical decision support system, which will promptly forward GP recommendations to patients, and which will be displayed on the GP's desk, according to a government review.

"The family doctors information system must be fast, user-friendly, and support the physician's decision-making process in order for the family physician and his team to perform as well as possible. The new solution brings personalized recommendations , "said Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik in a statement. "The decision-making support that is being developed in cooperation between the EHIF and family physicians allows us to save doctors' time and make existing health data work better for people's health."

Recommendations for treatment take into account both the patient's current medical records and prescriptions, as well as data added during a specific visit that has not yet been transmitted to the TIS. Patient's previous diagnoses, surgeries and procedures, medications used lifestyle and genetic risk scores, will also be considered.

Based on evidence-based treatment guidelines, decision-making support provides the physician with diagnosis and treatment recommendations for patients. But it will always be the health care professional who ultimately decides on the course of treatment.

The decision-making support will be available to family doctors from April 1. 

Karl-Henrik Peterson, Member of the Board of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, said by creating clinical decision support, the EHIF will help improve the quality of work for family physicians, as it will enable family physicians to make faster and better decisions. "Today, treatment guidelines are changing so rapidly that a physician needs a solution to support them in their daily work," Peterson said in a statement.

Le Vallikivi, the head of the Estonian Society of Family Physicians, said decision-making support in today's information-rich era is an essential digital tool for family physicians to make decisions about what studies, analyzes and medications are best suited to a particular patient. "Decision support also advises on how much attention the healthcare system should give to this patient in order to ensure the best outcomes for his or her health," Vallikivi said. 

The clinical decision support system project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Estonian Health Insurance Fund in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health and Welfare Information Systems Center. 

The total cost of the project is €1 million and will it continue to be paid for by the EHIF, said Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik at a government press conference.

The amendment to the Statute of the Health Information System also provides for the automatic exchange of data for the transmission of data on communicable diseases.

So far, communicable disease data have been transmitted by health care institutions to the Communicable Diseases Register via e-mail or on paper. The change is necessary to ensure timely monitoring data and timely response to the necessary control measures in case of suspected infection.

The changes to the regulation are scheduled to take effect on March 2 this year.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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