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Lithuania replaces visits to the GP with teleconsultations

Lithuania replaces visits to the GP with teleconsultations

As of 3 March, patients can receive treatment recommendations over the Internet

By order of the Minister of Health of Lithuania, effective 3 March, patients' medications and medical aids, including reimbursements, can be extended remotely on the Internet without a visit to the GP. This means that doctors will be able to monitor, correct, and, interpret online the results of the treatment patients need, every time they need it.

Prior to these changes, patients were obliged to physically visit a medical facility the next time after using the remote service. The innovation will help avoid unnecessary patient visits to medical facilities, which is particularly important in stemming the growth of influenza, acute upper respiratory tract infections and other viral diseases.

Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said the decision was prompted by the current situation regarding COVID-19. Suggestions from family physicians themselves regarding the development of remote healthcare also influenced the decision.

“These changes are extremely important in today's context where all preventive measures are necessary and important. Thus, the fact that patients, especially those with chronic non-infectious diseases and no new complaints, will not be required to attend a second visit for medication or medical aids extension, will undoubtedly reduce the chances of contracting coronavirus and other viral diseases, ” said Veryga, quoted by the Ministry website.

In addition, he said, since teleconsultation is shorter than a patient's arrival at the clinic, a substantially updated procedure would save both patients and doctors time, while reducing queues at family doctors.

First coronavirus case reported

The first coronavirus case was confirmed in Lithuania last Friday. The northern town of Šiauliai and the surrounding region have been identified as the epicentre of the infection, LRT reported.

Immediately afterwards, the government recommended mass events in Šiauliai to be cancelled and said it will send troops to the airports and the country's borders to help stem the spread of the virus. Health Minister Veryga said at the time that local authorities will be instructed to delegate a clinic or a hospital to collect coronavirus test samples from the homes of those who may be affected.

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