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Denmark aims to be international frontrunner in telemedicine

30-09-2015 News UK

In the years ahead, two telemedicine solutions will be implemented across all of Denmark. There is a first time for everything, and now is the first time for citizens across the whole country to get access to telemedicine solutions in their home.

Citizens with chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD) will have better opportunity to monitor their own illness with telemedicine equipment. And citizens dealing with epilepsy, prostate cancer and chemo treatment will submit electronic questionnaires. The questionnaires enable healthcare personnel to better asses who needs e.g. a health check at the hospital.

Treatment and monitoring through telemedicine is one of the resources that enable the public health sector to produce high quality services, even in a future where the number of citizens with chronic illness is on the rise.

Director-General of the Danish Agency for Digitization, Lars Frelle-Petersen, has high ambitions for telemedicine in Denmark:

“In just a few years the Danes have committed to receiving digital post from the public sector instead of ordinary mail. With the recent commitment to implement telemedicine nationally I also see Denmark as an international frontrunner for healthcare IT.”

Telemedicine means security and more focused efforts
COLD patients monitor e.g. blood pressure, weight and blood oxygen level. The opportunity to monitor their own illness gives COLD patients better knowledge of their illness, more security and more flexibility in their lives. Furthermore, if the illness worsens this will be detected earlier, and hence acute hospitalizations can be avoided to the benefit of citizens as well as society.

It is not only COLD patients who get the opportunity to be more involved in their own treatment. In the future patients dealing with epilepsy, prostate cancer and chemo treatment will submit electronic questionnaires using a tablet or PC. The digital questionnaires give patients a higher degree of joint ownership over their treatment.

Furthermore, the insight healthcare personnel get is used for optimization of the hospitals resources as unnecessary consultations are avoided. A pilot study from Central Denmark Region shows that digital questionnaires can make possible a 50 percent reduction of out-patient controls for patients dealing with epilepsy.

More telemedicine is the future
It has been only five years since the first steps towards national implementation of telemedicine solutions were taken. Thus, the opportunities in telemedicine are far from exhausted. Recently the Danish Public Welfare Technology Fund allocated 22 million DKK to five projects that test telemedicine on new patient groups.

In the coming months the Danish Government alongside with the regions and municipalities will work intensively to finalize the new eGovernment Strategy that is expected to be published around the turn of the year. The strategy is expected to set new aims for Denmark’s work with telemedicine.

Denmark aims to stay in front of the pack when it comes to healthcare IT and public sector digitization.

Read the fact sheet on telemedicine and questionnaires.