Booking an appointment to a specialist doctor can be quite a hassle. You may have to spend weeks for finding a suitable time. Here the time finder comes to rescue! The time finder solution was developed in the innovation programme for public sector, the aim of which is to simplify finding appointment times in the national e-booking system.
In 2022, we are testing the Time finder solution in the national e-booking system. If you cannot find a suitable time from the system, you can sign up for the waiting list. The time finder will notify you via SMS and e-mail when a suitable time becomes available. The time finder helps to save your time and simplifies finding doctor’s appointments. From the point of view of the state, the solution enables to get a better overview of treatment needs in different specialties.
The time finder is currently only available for some medical facilities and specialties.
The idea of the time finder was born in 2020 within the public sector innovation programme, in cooperation with the innovation team, Ministry of Social Affairs, the Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre and the Health Insurance Fund , based on the input of users of the health information systems. The system developer Kodality OÜ has also contributed significantly to the development of the system.
TESTING THE TIME FINDER IN 2022
In 2022, the time finder solution is tested in some medical institutions and services in order to analyse the performance of the solution and define the possible bottlenecks. In the beginning of 2023, the next steps will be coordinated in co-operation with medical institutions and stakeholders. If the solution justifies itself, it will be gradually extended to other specialties and medical institutions.
SERVICES OF THE TEST PROJECT
- Endocrinologist’s appointment (endocrinology)
- Paediatric endocrinologist’s appointment (paediatric endocrinology)
- Cardiologist’s appointment (cardiology)
- Cardiologist’s appointment (stimulators) (cardiology)
- Dermatologist’s and venereologist’s appointment (dermatology and venereology)
- Dermatologist’s appointment (skin tumours)(dermatology and venereology)
PARTICIPATING MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS
- North Estonia Medical Centre
- Tartu University Hospital
- East Tallinn Central Hospital
- Medita Clinic
HOW IT WORKS
- Log into the national e-booking system
- Fill in the form of finding an appointment and click “FIND TIME”
- If you were not able to find a suitable appointment and the searchable service is in the list of pilot services and a medical institution participating in the pilot is in the area, a button “ADD TO WAITING LIST” appears.
- You can add yourself or the person you represent to the waiting list of both the services paid by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and the private services.
- In order to use the time finder, you have to select your preferences: suitable area(s), medical institution(s), method of payment(s) and mark the dates that are not suitable for you. It is mandatory to add your cell phone number and e-mail address, so that the time finder could send you possible appointment times. After having filled in the form, click “CONFIRM”
- The information added by you can be seen under “REFERRALS AND BOOKINGS” in the national e-booking system, from where you can also change preferences or cancel your waiting list request.
Confirming the appointments
- If a suitable time is found, the time finder shall send you an SMS and e-mail with the appointment offer.
- You can confirm the offer or decline it. The offered appointment time should be confirmed within 24 hours by sending an SMS “I ACCEPT” or in the e-booking system. To cancel, send an SMS – “OFFER AGAIN“.
- If the offered time was suitable and you confirmed it, you will be removed from the waiting list of the service. If you are on the waiting list for other services, the system will continue sending appointment offers.
- If you have declined the appointment offers three times or have not responded to the offers, the system will stop searching appointment times for 14 days.
- If you have declined the appointment offers six times or have not responded to the offers, you will be removed from the waiting list.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What about people who are not competent in using digital solutions, will they be able to use the time finder?
We are testing the time finder in restricted number of medical institutions and specialties in the national e-booking system. If the solution justifies itself, you can add yourself to the waiting list also by calling the reception of a medical institution. We are hoping that the relatives and friends can help the users not competent in digital solutions. In recent years, we have noticed that the number of people using digital solutions is growing.
Why are there a limited number of specialties and medical institutions involved in the project? Why these specialties and services?
Although we have carefully designed the time finder solution, we cannot anticipate all the possible consequences of implementing it. For example, does using the time finder make it more difficult for some target groups to get to the doctor? Does it take longer to get the appointment? Is the solution understandable and convenient for users? This is why we are testing the time finder in a restricted volume, in order to assess the results before its wider use. The services were selected based on long waiting lists and services where it was difficult to find appointment times. For testing, we chose both the services where the referral is needed, and others where it is not needed.
Why can’t I book a time for a certain doctor?
The time finder is designed to help people with appointments with extensively long waiting lists. The possibility of choosing a certain doctor would significantly increase a person's waiting time. Therefore, the option of choosing a certain doctor in case of appointments funded by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund was not considered reasonable. We considered the option of choosing a certain doctor with private appointments. However, this option was left out from the pilot project. We will monitor the progress of the pilot project and re-examine this option based on the results of the pilot.