Experts from the World Health Organization have evaluated the process of compilation of treatment guidelines



In the past week, recognized experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) were in Estonia and analyzed the Estonian process for compilation and implementation of treatment guidelines. The visit will culminate in a report which assesses the quality and effectiveness of the system and the recommendations for improvement of the compilation and the use of the guidelines. 

According to Tanel Ross, CEO of the Health Insurance Fund, the evidence-based treatment guidelines, based on internationally recognized principles, have been drawn up for four years in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu and other parties, and it is now important to get feedback on what has been accomplished. “In the Estonian guidelines have been gathered the results of reliable research and the experience of professionals that takes into account the particularities and preferences of the patient. The local guidelines also take into account the specificities of the health system, and the objective to harmonize the quality of care. In the development of the treatment quality, it is essential to implement high quality standards completed on the basis of a common methodology and agreed upon with the professional experts, and to monitor their application in a consistent manner."

The Minister of Health and Labour, Rannar Vassiljev, said, “both the University of Tartu, as a leader in the promotion of the quality of treatment, as well as the  Health Insurance Fund, which has supported the drafting of treatment guidelines which in recent years have taken the guidelines to a new methodological level, deserve serious recognition.” A large amount of work has been done by the drafters of the treatment guidelines which include a total of over two hundred clinicians. For the Ministry of Social Affairs, the quality of treatment is a priority area. “One of the operations of the Government's action program has been the development of the quality strategy for the following year.”

"One of the priorities of WHO has been improving the quality of health care services and the introduction of evidence-based medicine. As one of the initiators and supporters of the drafting process of treatment guidelines, the World Health Organization is interested in ensuring the sustainability of the compilation of the treatment guidelines in Estonia,” said the head of the WHO Office in Estonia, Marge Reinap.

The analysis was conducted by international experts from WHO, Dr Suzanne Hill, Professor Holger Schünemann and Professor Paul Garner.

Learning from both international as well as Estonia's current experience, and involving of a number of experts in cooperation of the Health Insurance Fund and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu, five Estonian treatment guidelines have been completed on the basis of uniform principles within the four-year period. Clinical guidelines are drawn up by recognized experts in their field, which are designed to help health care professionals to adopt decisions important for the health of the patient, and to draw up treatment plans keeping in mind the needs of a specific person, which would spare both the patient and the health insurance of unnecessary expenditures. Treatment guidelines are nationwide, so they help ensure good health care in the same way everywhere, regardless of the patient's residence or a medical institution. For family doctors and nurses, for example, have been drawn up treatment guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of e.g., high blood pressure, asthma, anxiety and panic disorder and for the prevention and primary care of pressure sores.  The supporting material of treatment guidelines is the patient guidelines which is available to all interested parties on the website of the treatment guidelines. Information on treatment and patient guidelines is converged on the website