Pave the Way for E-health

Thanks to modern medicine and healthcare, many of today’s children will live to celebrate their hundredth birthdays. It is a truly amazing development, but longer lives come with a hefty price tag and a possible lack of treatment capacity. Swedish estimations show a cost increase of 30 percent over the coming 20 years, if we stick with our current ways of distributing healthcare. There is a need for new ways of working to mitigate these risks. New e-health solutions are now developed rapidly and are having the potential to improve patient care and let people get access to better, safer and personalized treatments.

When connected sensors can give notice when deviations in patterns occur, and cameras with auto response gives new possibilities for home care and real time distance monitoring of patients, we will start to make those important steps forward. Digitally capturing and consulting with patients creates new alternatives to face-to-face care, which can be equally effective and less costly. Reliable and more granular patient data informs clinical decision-making, ensuring the best and most accurate diagnosis and the best treatment.

Connected home health devices enable patients that do not need full time care to be monitored remotely, through simple tests, and helping them to live safely at home, such as alerts for falls and medication use. This can further reduce hospital admissions and potentially the length of stay by supporting earlier discharges. Our estimations show that these devices alone, excluding the impact of increased health literacy and other ICT related health outcomes, could save €4.9bn and may potentially help reduce untimely deaths by 6,000 a year across the Nordics and Baltics in 2021.

To get the most out of the digital health revolution we need to change the way organize our health care and economic incentives within the compensation systems. We will not be able develop new services outside the box, if the health systems only pay for traditional hospital visits and doctor appointments. We believe healthcare can be turned improved in a fundamental way. Today you are only seen be your doctor during a short visit to the hospital when you feel bad. In the future, your doctor could follow your condition minute by minute on a dashboard and proactively contact you when your connected sensors show deviations from the normal. Going from a set-up where doctors cure sickness to a set-up where they help to keep you healthy.

Next steps…

  • Continue adopting the recommendation from the Nordic Reference Architecture. To enable secure and reliable information sharing, national or preferably international standards must come in place. Technical standards are prerequisites for interoperation between actors and a variety of hardware solutions. Governments should Set a target of 50 percent of the using an e/m-health solution as part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle by 2025 and Set the target of the Nordic and Baltic region being world leader in providing digital healthcare solutions by 2025.
  • Make information available between different hospitals and between hospitals and caretakers. To do this the patients' health information and data points must be structured and stored in way that makes it possible to process and share information for a variety of purposes. Health information exchanges and electronic health records are a necessary component of large-scale e-Health. Develop a Nordic-Baltic digital medical record system, making health care borderless and the health system more efficient.
  • Make it possible to prioritize on-line healthcare data in the network to safeguard caretakers and patients.