From the beginning of 2020, patients can request personalized counseling when calling on the family physician advisory line. At the permission of the caller the physician on the advisory line can look up the caller's health records to give more precise advice.
Külli Friedemann (Head of the EHIF Primary Healthcare Department) explains that starting from this year, with the consent of the caller, the physician on the advisory line can see the caller’s health records, such as illnesses, prescribed medications, and analyses performed. "The consulting physician can also enter the counseling information into digital health records, so that the family physician can be updated with their patient's health condition," said Friedemann.
According to Klarika Kallikorm-Rannamets (the coordinator of the family physician advisory line), approximately 100 people used personalized counseling service in the first week of January. “Technically the service has run smoothly and has been well received by people. At the moment, personalized consultation is sought mainly for seasonal viral diseases - diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and the like,” she added.
There are more updates to the advisory line service. When previously health counseling was available only in Estonian and Russian, then starting from this year people can receive counselling also in English daily from 3 to 5 pm.
According to Martin Tulit, (Deputy Head of the Citizenship and Migration Policy Department at the Ministry of Interior), this is an important addition to the service as health counseling in English is needed on a daily basis for new immigrants who have come in Estonia to work, study or for family reasons. "Providing new immigrants health counseling in English will help solve minor health problems promptly, and thus reduce the load of emergency departments," said Tulit.
Family physician advisory line provides professional medical advice 24/7. The advisory line is primarily intended to provide advice on minor health problems and guidance on first aid.
According to the advisory line coordinator, it is important to remember that in case of serious conditions and prolonged illnesses the physicians cannot prescribe treatment over a phone call, instead you have to contact your family physician or medical specialist who will then assess your situation, perform necessary analyses and prescribe appropriate treatment.