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Telemedicine pilot projects

On 9 November 2020, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) announced a call for competition for telemedicine pilot projects to accelerate the introduction of user-friendly and high-benefit telemedicine services. The competition will support the development, early implementation, and healthcare impact assessment of new integrated service models including telemedicine services. In addition, new remuneration models will be tested that would allow the introduction of telemedicine service models following the successful completion of a pilot project.    

Projects submitted to the pilot project competition must meet one or more of the following development needs of the Estonian healthcare system: prevention of exacerbation of chronic diseases, improvement of treatment continuity, improvement of the availability of mental health support services.

The indicative budget for the competition is 1,000,000 euros. Pilot projects are funded by the EHIF's Innovation Fund. Beneficiary pilot projects have been selected through a two-stage application round. The applications were evaluated in both rounds by a broad-based evaluation committee that in addition to the Health Insurance Fund and the Ministry of Social Affairs, also included the representatives of the Estonian Association of Young Doctors, the Patients' Union, the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People, research institutions, as well as innovation and health system experts. 

The deadline for submitting the application for the first round was 30 November 2020. 33 project ideas were submitted to the Health Insurance Fund. In the first round, 10,000 euros were allocated to ten projects for the preparation of the design plan, including further development of the idea, engaging of cooperation partners and preparation of a detailed action plan and schedule. For its part, the EHIF offered the teams the support program consisting of a service design workshop, an impact assessment training, a mentoring day, and opportunities for project teams to exchange their experiences.

The deadline for submitting the application for the second round was 1 April 2021. The grant amounts to be provided in the second round was not determined, but depended on the activities required to achieve the project objectives. In the second round, 4 telemedicine pilot projects received support, which can be read about here. The second round is divided into two stages: preparation for the implementation of telemedicine model (1 May 2021 to 31 December 2021) and implementation (12 months, 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022). In the preparatory stage, grants will be provided for the development of a telemedicine model, the conduct of a feasibility study and the preparation of an impact assess of the telemedicine model. In the implementation stage, grants will be provided to cover the administrative and development costs related to the impact assessment of the telemedicine model.

The minutes of the evaluation committee meeting, and the resolution of the Board of the Health Insurance Fund on the grant in both rounds can be found in the list of documents at the end of the page.

Figure 1. Structure of the pilot projects competition
Figure 1. Structure of the pilot projects competition

More information and instructions: naidisprojektid [at] haigekassa.ee

Jaarika Järviste, project manager,jaarika.jarviste [at] haigekassa.ee 56479928

Liis Kruus, project manager, liis.kruus [at] haigekassa.ee 55678689