The Tartu-based startup, Medihub, is to open Northern Europe’s first international medical services information portal that will allow patients from Estonia, Finland, Russia and other countries to search for clinics, compare the prices of services and book doctor’s appointments.
Medihub will be the first company to enter the Nordic and Baltic markets with an international medical services portal, allowing the comparison of service prices and reading of other patients’ feedback regarding clinics, the company said in a statement.
It hopes the international competition will also improve the quality of medical services, thanks to the open market. “Through growing exports, it is hoped that the Estonian medical sector will see an influx of additional finances from outside of the closed financing system – consequently resulting in improved working conditions and competitive pay for health professionals. If successful, it is possible that the new service may help put a stop to the current exodus of health professionals,” Medihub said in a statement.
“Following the launch of the portal, paid services will most likely face a certain degree of price pressure due to a growing demand from abroad,” Medihub’s CEO Helary Lainjärv said, adding that this would not affect the provision and availability of services provided by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.
“In the long term, the Estonian medical sector will undoubtedly benefit from the new medical portal, as the current prices differ two to eight times from the Finnish prices. Some Estonian private clinics, whose price and quality ratio is not in order, will have to adjust their prices or risk losing their clients. If we set the services provided by clinics side by side, we notice a considerable difference in prices in Estonia as well. A higher price does not necessarily mean better quality,” Lainjärv said.
The portal, in development since spring 2015, will be refined continuously and new data is added daily. Medihub acts as an intermediary only for the clinics’ paid services and service prices can be compared without Health Insurance Fund benefits. “Our platform could be especially useful for those seeking dentistry services, plastic surgery or laser eye surgery, as these services are usually excluded from receiving Health Insurance Fund benefits,” the company said.
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