The Electronic Health Record is a nationwide system that integrates data from Estonia’s different healthcare providers to a create a common record for each patient.
Though it may look like a centralized, national database, it actually retrieves data as needed from the various providers, who may be using different systems, and presents it in a standard format.
It’s a powerful tool for doctors, because it allows them to access a patient’s records easily from a single electronic file. The doctor can read test results as soon as they are entered, including image files such as X-rays.
In an emergency situation, a doctor can use a patient’s ID card to read time-critical information, such as blood group, allergies, recent treatments, ongoing medication or pregnancy.
The system also compiles data for national statistics, so the relevant ministry can measure health trends, track epidemics and make sure that its health resources are being spent wisely.
Patients have access to their own records, as well as those of their children. By logging into the Patient Portal with an electronic ID Card, the patient can review their past doctor visits and current prescriptions, control which doctors have access to their files, and even receive general health advice.