I dagens blogg riktar Forum för Health Policy åter fokus på digitaliseringsutvecklingen i Norden och nu specifikt Danmark. Anne-Mete Bang och Bogi Eliasen skriver om den danska kulturen som främjar innovation och attraherar företag att utveckla E-hälsa. Utvecklingen sker ofta i samverkan mellan offentliga och privata aktörer vilket ses som en bidragande framgångsfaktor till att Danmark ligger långt fram gällande användandet av nya teknologier inom hälso- och sjukvården.

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Denmark´s ongoing eHealth journey

Anne-Mete Bang and Bogi Eliasen

Denmark pioneered health-IT developments as far back as the 90s. Efforts were made to identify the critical factors in ensuring success in making health-IT a valued and useful tool in the treatment of patients and securing information. In 1994, MedCom* was established with the purpose of standardizing and digitizing the most frequently occurring communication flows between GPs, hospitals and municipalities. At that time, few coordinated communication lines were established and the first Danish EPJ journal had been instigated only in the recent years. This began at a small regional hospital where a few innovative thinkers took the initiative to build their own IT patients’ overview. More and more IT-tools are being developed and implemented, mostly beneficial to clinicians and patients.

The Danish environment is furthermore considered to be conducive to development and viewed as a sandbox (test environment) for companies to introduce ideas. From 2010 onwards, the political agenda has prioritized creating an environment to attract health-IT businesses to DK and facilitate assimilation in the health-IT innovation environment. This has led to private-public-innovation strategies. Most public organizations, from hospitals to regional and national bodies, have created test-labs, innovation centers and special methods to test and evaluate new innovations within the health-IT sector. There are three main reasons for an open innovative-friendly environment:

  1. It attracts business to the country
  2. As a nation, it is necessary, if we want to provide the citizens with high quality healthcare and ensure that there are tools available to implement these ambitions.
  3. The public sector is active in identifying the need for innovation and generating ideas that are often, subsequently, developed by private organizations.

Over the past few years there have been significant developments in health-IT, including tools facilitating diagnosis of colon cancer; the camera pill; IT-systems that bring data closer to the patient i.e. sundhed.dk; and clinical decision support systems i.e. CDS. Globally, sundhed.dk is the best national service for citizens to access their own data and benefit from curated health information.

There is also a remarkable lighthouse project of COP* telemedicine, which is a collaboration between all the municipalities, regions and Ministry of Health to pave the way for cross-sectoral telemedicine services. The establishment of the Health Data Agency in 2015 demonstrates the recognition and support the health-IT sector receives. Nationwide strategic initiatives such as Danish Digital Health Strategy 2018-2022, Digital Hub Denmark, Danish Life Science Strategy further contribute to pioneering and strengthening this sector.

Health-IT innovations and products aim to heighten awareness around disease, ease of access to knowledge, rapid diagnoses and targeted treatment for patients. Developing and implementing solutions is a way to improve a patient quality of life and ensure that clinicians have access to the right knowledge & tools. Denmark recognizes this need and is supporting it through proactive collaboration across sectors. Consequently, we are therefore ahead of many other nations in our adaptation of new technologies within the health sector, though we are nowhere near the frontier. Health-IT is not a fleeting fad, but an increasingly important partner in caretaking, treating and communication with patients.


Anne-Mete Bang, CEO, Cambio Denmark
Bogi Eliasen, Health Specialist, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

* MedCom is a public funded, non-profit cooperation that facilitates the cooperation between authorities, organizations and private firms linked to the Danish healthcare sector.
* COP – Cronical Obstructive Pulmonary Disease