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Press release from the Danish Ministry of Finance: How do we ensure safe and secure digital welfare?

19-03-2013 News UK

An online measuring instrument which patients with chronic lung diseases can use at home and thereby avoid paying a visit to the hospital. A direct video connection with the physiotherapist so that rehabilitation of an injured shoulder can take place at home and many can be rehabilitated at the same time. Or an ICT system that makes it possible to hand in assignments and exam papers online to the teacher and the external examiner instead of copying piles of paper.

These are all examples of technologies that give citizens more freedom and more of a say over their own lives while, at the same time, public authorities can perform the tasks more inexpensively. This type of technologies must be used more in future so that we can afford solid welfare at a time when the economy is tight.

The Government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions will, therefore, present an overall strategy for digital welfare in the health, social and educational areas later this year.

In order to receive input to this work, the Government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions will publish a discussion paper on digital welfare today. The idea of the discussion paper is to launch a dialogue with the Danes on how digital solutions can best be used to ensure and develop welfare.

Minister for Finance Bjarne Corydon’s opinion is quite clear:

    "At a time with an increasing number of elderly people and a tight economic framework, it is more important than ever to use our common resources wisely. Therefore, we need to take the bull by the horns and have the courage to fully utilise the new technologies. Being afraid to act is not an option if we want to ensure that in the years ahead we can afford good schools for our children, nursing and care for the elderly, and the best treatments when we fall ill. I look forward to taking this discussion with the Danes," says Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon.

Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior Margrethe Vestager states:

    "The opportunities technology offers us makes it possible to do things in a better and more flexible way and with more degrees of freedom for the individual person. A chronically sick person, for example, will not need to go to a specific hospital for check-ups, but can perform the check-up at home instead. It saves the patient travelling time, waiting time and the trouble of getting to and from hospital. We want to create new ways to better welfare," she says.

President of Local Government Denmark Erik Nielsen sees new opportunities through more digital welfare:

    "When we make use of technology, the welfare we offer our citizens today can be brought much closer to the citizens who therefore have the opportunity to take active part in treatment or education. For example when young people with ADHD are supported in their everyday lives through text messages on their mobile phones, or when elderly people suffering from dementia are given help to make coffee or turn on the dishwasher by means of codes they can read on their mobile phones. We see in the municipalities that the citizens take this technology on board and appreciate the freedom they achieve. Therefore, we must not be afraid of making use of the opportunities technology can provide," says President of Local Government Denmark Erik Nielsen.

President of Danish Regions Bent Hansen states:

    "Within the healthcare sector in the regions, we embarked on the future and the digital opportunities a long time ago. The results are good – both hospital staff and the patients have welcomed the digital solutions, and we also see how the hospitals achieve huge efficiency gains every year. Considering the increasing pressure on the health service, new digital opportunities will not only be an important part of the work in the years ahead, but also a precondition for maintaining a health service that is characterised by both quality and efficiency."