Healthcare in Estonia

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Healthcare in Estonia is supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and funded by general taxation through the National Health Service.


Electronic health record[edit]

Estonia is a pioneer in the use of Electronic health records because when general practice was moved out of hospitals in 1998 the records were kept in the hospitals, so GPs had to start their own system. Dr Madis Tiik established an electronic record system though it was officially illegal until 2002. He was a founder member of the eHealth Foundation and became its chief executive. There is now a central record system which is available to all healthcare professionals and can be viewed by the patient. Some tasks are automated, so that doctors do not have to certify that people are fit to drive. The application automatically checks their medical history.[1]

Estonia was the first country in the world that has implemented a nationwide EHR system, registering virtually all residents' medical history from birth to death. It was launched on 17 December 2008.[2]

Estonia used its existing digital public service software known as X-Road to create the EHR network. Estonia's system was overseen by the Ministry of Social Affairs until the creation of the Estonian e-Health Foundation.[3] Since its implementation, 95% of health data has been digitized. Citizens that participate in the program are given an individual card that is used to access their records, like a national identification.[4]

The cost of this system has been €7.50 per person at the time of creation. Costs can stay low due to Estonia's small population.[5] The system is still too small to create proper diagnosis and track national statistics according to the National Audit Office.[6]

Along with e-Health records, Estonia has also created an e-Prescription service. It allows doctors to create an electronic prescription that is then added to a patient's health card and accessed at a pharmacy to receive the medicine they may require. Now 97% of prescriptions are digital in Estonia.[7]

See also Electronic health record

Child support[edit]

Upon giving birth, the Estonian government grants one of the parents 100% of their former salary for 18 months, plus 320 Euros of one-time support per child. After 18 months, the parent has the right to resume her/his former position. In addition, the parent and child receive free healthcare. Parents who did not work before giving birth (unemployed, students, etc.) receive 278 Euros a month; the top salary is capped at 2,157 Euros a month.[8] These measures, which have been in force from 2005, have not been proven to have had a major positive effect on the birth rate in Estonia, which has increased already since 2001.[9]

Those policy measures concentrate on the first 18 months of the child's life. After 18 months, the monthly state support to a child goes down to 19 Euros a month (for the first two children) and 58 euros (for three or more children), plus free healthcare. There are many exceptions and added bonuses to the rule. For example, the child of a single parent receives twice the sum of child support. The child of an army member receives five times the sum of the child support, and children in foster families receive 20 times the sum of the child support. Despite considerable variation and fluctuations in the support to the family with children, the majority of Estonian families do not face great hardships and the State of The World's Mothers 2011 report ranked Estonia as the 18th best country in the world to be a mother, ahead of countries like Canada and the United States.[10] According to the CIA World Factbook, Estonia has the lowest maternal death rate in the world.


  1. ^ "Meet the country that's ripping up the rules on records". Health Service Journal. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Overview of Estonian Electronic Health Record (EHR) System". Estonian eHealth Foundation. 31 August 2010.
  3. ^ joomla_user2. "Overview of Estonian Electronic Health Record (EHR) System". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  4. ^ "Patient opportunities in the Estonian Electronic Health Record System (PDF Download Available)". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  5. ^ "Estonia launches $10 EHR". Healthcare IT News. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  6. ^ Muzõtšin M. "Some E-Health developments in Estonia". 20th EPSO Conference.
  7. ^ "e-Prescription". e-Estonia Healthcare. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  8. ^ Ministry of Social Affairs webpage on Parental Compensation. (in Estonian). Retrieved 8 November 2011
  10. ^ The 2011 Mothers' Index. 2011. (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2011.

External links[edit]