Starting from 2015, the possibilities of family doctors to refer patients to necessary tests will expand. In addition, for family doctors will be created a separate therapy fund enabling family doctors to refer patients also to the services of non-clinical specialists.
The Head of the Health Insurance Fund Tanel Ross says the aim of the development of primary care is to ensure that the insured continuously receive faster solutions to their health concerns and to allow family doctors to improve the quality of their work, giving them more opportunities to achieve better treatment outcomes.
“From the new year the opportunities expanded with a new and separate therapy fund in addition to the existing examination and activity funds, for family doctors for referring patients to therapeutic services" Ross explained the new primary level health care options. "This means that family doctors no longer need to use a medical specialist as an intermediate for sending a patient to a clinical psychologist and a speech therapist."
Ross added: "Innovations are also expected in the opportunities of using e-consultations. So far, family doctors could refer the patient to an e- consultation with an urologist, endocrinologist, pulmonary physician, rheumatologist, and ear-nose-throat doctor. Since 2015, in addition will be added the e-consultations of a hematologist, neurologists, and a pediatrician."
Diana Ingerainen, the Head of the Estonian Association of Family Doctors said: "I am really pleased that the e-consultation extends to three more specialties." She also confirmed that the addition of the therapy fund is very welcome. “From the New Year, the family doctor will not have to send the patient first to the psychiatrist who could further refer the patient to the psychologist but can do it directly. The more there are specialists around the family doctor, the faster a person can get help, and the more teamwork will be performed in treating a person the better it is. "