Telia and e-health care - a seminar at Almedalen

This morning, in an idyllic, English rose filled garden, I had the fortune to participate in a seminar Telia held regarding e-health care in Sweden, at Almedalen in Gotland. The key note speaker was Bernard Tyson, newly appointed CEO of Kaiser Permanente, with 9.3 million patients making it the third largest health care provider, in the United States. He shared with us how Kaiser Permanente was adopting e-health care resulting in better health care for its patients and driving down costs. Some of the facts he provided were staggering: in 2012 13 million e-visits were conducted and Bernard predicts that by the end of 2013 this will be an incredible 20 million.  By embracing technology and allowing the customer to decide its destiny this has been made possible and the electronic medical record has been the basis, in ensuring that the right information gets to the right person at the right time.

Clearly, a solid, reliable technical infrastructure, including network coverage, is key as well as the willingness to adapt to technology. In survey results by Telia and Cisco, published today, on how the different sectors in Sweden are adapting technology, the health care sector is lagging far behind with only 28% as opposed to 50% in the banking and finance sector. There is a huge gap to be filled here.

How can the health sector be brought up to speed in this area? Telia's recent commitment to provide 99% of the population in Sweden with 4G access, where they live, by the end of 2014 as well as the continuous expansion of its fibre network and the upgrading of its fixed network, are important enablers for further progress.
Sweden with its multitude of systems in the health sector, commercial sector as well as communities does provide a challenge here. But surely the goal is to ensure that physicians spend the bulk of their time on practicing medicine and not on administrative tasks! This kind of brings me back full circle as this is exactly where the focus and one of the success factors of Kaiser Permanente where they are doing just that- using cutting edge technology.

Author: Kristina Hunter Nilsson, Communications Manager, TeliaSonera