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Expansion of access to eHealth sought with draft Act

21. January 2016 - 12:00

Today, the draft Act to amend the Military Service Act reached the Riigikogu for its first reading. The draft Act seeks to grant medical committees within the area of government of the Ministry of Defence access to the eHealth system.

On the basis of the draft Act, as of 1 January 2017, health professionals serving as members of medical committees would be able to access the eHealth system if a person has granted the corresponding consent to do so.

The granting of such access will help save time and money, while at the same time giving doctors a better overview of prior diagnoses. In the future, medical committees would no longer need to repeat previously conducted tests, since the results of those tests would be accessible. Above all, it would make the process of passing through medical committees faster and easier for conscripts, since an entire line of standard and additional tests could be omitted.

According to Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso, connecting medical committees to eHealth will help prevent tests that have already been performed from being repeated, thereby saving time and taxpayer money.

“The process of connecting medical committees to the eHealth system has taken many years, since a compromise solution with the general principles of eHealth had to be found, to make sure that the data therein would only be used for the purposes of medical treatment,” said Hanso. "Since doctors, not officials, are the only members of medical committees who are able to view eHealth data, and each individual provides personal consent granting access to their data, we were able to reach an agreement. We hope that we can connect a previously isolated floating island with the remainder of the e-state and bring an end to costly duplication. “

All examinations and identified diagnoses in medical committees shall, in turn, be entered into eHealth. These can be taken into consideration by family physicians or specialists, for example, when issuing a medical certificate when applying for a driving license or weapons permit.

The technological development costs necessary for connecting to e-health will be covered from the budget of the Ministry of Defence, with the estimated total cost being approximately EUR 200,000. The budgets for medical institutions, doctors and health insurance, as well as the time saved, will definitely provide greater savings, the precise assessment of which is currently difficult to perform.

The Defence Resources Agency’s medical committees for conscripts alone perform medical examinations on more than 10,000 young men and women each year. On average, the cost of one conscript passing a medical committee is EUR 196.

In addition to eHealth related improvements, the draft Act to amend the Military Service Act, which was submitted to legislative proceeding in the Riigikogu today, also affects the procedure for the temporary granting of military rank, recording of working time of active servicemen, ensuring dwellings are provided by the employer for active servicemen, and the amendment of the requirement for the determination of salary for the Commander of the Defence Forces.

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