The pandemic brought a need for more telework in medicine. The fast decision to allow patients to receive consultations remotely has been welcome by patients. Today we have introduced more ways for teleconsultations adding video appointments next to phone consultations. The number of Patient to Doctor teleconsultations has increased about 30% within the first nine months of this year. According to a survey from Spring, 94% of patients have been satisfied or rather satisfied with their teleconsultation at NEMC.
The North Estonia Medical Centre (NEMC) has increased the number of remote consultations by 30 % totalling at almost 10 000 in the first nine month of 2021. Patients value the new prospect and the quality of teleconsultations very highly. This Spring Estonian Health Insurance Fund conducted a survey where 70 % of the patients felt safe and were completely satisfied and an additional 24% were rather satisfied with their teleconsultation in NEMC.
NEMC offers General Practitioner to Medical Specialist e-consultations and Medical Specialist to Patient teleconsultations. Online consultations between medical personnel were introduced before the pandemic. Patient to doctor teleconsultations were solely introduced due to the circumstances of the pandemic – in Spring 2020 in-person appointments were cancelled but patients still needed attention. The growing numbers of teleconsultations show that patients are very appreciative of the opportunity to have their appointment with the medical specialist remotely. Currently there are roughly about two Patient to Doctor consultations per every GP to specialist consultation.
In the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of teleconsultations with the Patient were done via phone. Today, the number of video-consultations is on the rise. The one speciality that has gained the most is Psychiatry. The total number of teleconsultations has risen almost three-fold to almost a thousand teleconsultations. The fact that the Health Insurance Fund has introduced a performance bonus for video-teleconsultations is giving health care providers additional impetus to move the communication from phone to video.
The pandemic helped introduce teleconsultations between Patient and Doctor into the list of compensated health care services and increased the usage of different types of remote consultations. The patients have started using remote consultation opportunities indicating they value these patient-friendly solutions. This is a clear indication that there is a demand for more patient centred and remote services and we will continue to introduce more remote services at the demand of our patients.
The North Estonia Medical Centre Foundation (NEMC) is one of the top healthcare providers in the country established by the Republic of Estonia. As a tertiary level regional hospital, we have the highest-level competence to provide specialised medical care and ambulance services, to be the learning base of training that precedes and follows the acquiring of health care professionals’ qualifications and does health care related study and research work. Our Case mix index is 1.68.
We are a patient-centred institution committed to professionalism, innovation and teamwork. We have over 5000 people – doctors, nurses, caregivers and specialists – working for the good of patients. The hospital consists of seven clinics and 32 specialist centres. In a year, the Medical Centre gives specialised medical care to ca 144 000 patients. NEMC offers medical care in all specialist fields other than obstetrics.