Mobile healthcare has started to gain some traction in Norway. In other words, the idea has been adopted now without much resistance. As early as last year, the Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine found that most medical professionals were misguided about e-health. Doctors in the Nordic nation believed that patients wouldn’t be able to understand their own health data and believed that people should not collect and analyze information that pertains to themselves.
But as technology continues to disrupt various parts of society, it is hard to ignore the huge opportunities presented by mobile health platforms. For example, diabetics can use mobile apps to track their level of activity, blood glucose values, and insulin. This in turn helps the patient better understand the relationship between their lifestyle and the disease. Further, these initiatives have been successful in Norway and the rest of Europe with some groundbreaking apps making a significant impact in the field.
According to Ernst & Young, transformation of health systems will be driven by the following:
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- Lower cost, better quality, and enhanced access
- Chronic diseases and behavioral solutions
- Mobile and social health solutions making healthcare a part of daily life
- Healthcare is making use of big data
- Drug development being transformed by genetic and genomic data
- Personalized medicine has become better
- Increases competition from entrants from nontraditional fields
- Shared decision making in healthcare
According to a survey conducted by Accenture, there was significant increase in the use of IT by Norwegian physicians. However, some doctors believed that Electronic Medical Records (EMR) had a negative or no impact at all on the quality of the treatment. So more research is needed to properly identify the underlying issues and understand this phenomenon.
Compared to a similar study conducted in Norway two years ago, 79% of doctors stated that they were more proficient in using EMR in their clinical practice. Further, 5 in 10 physicians surveyed stated that IT had decreased the amount of time spent with patients. Most doctors also believe that EMR has a positive impact on improved quality of treatment decision, reduction of medical errors, and improved health outcomes (for patients).
Over the past couple of years, 97% of doctors surveyed in the Nordic country stated that they depended on IT to electronically enter patient notes. But almost half stated that the EMR system was hard to use and 92% of doctors requested better functionality and user friendly data system.
E-Referrals to Providers
72% of the doctors surveyed used electronic referrals to and from medical professionals at other institutions. However there is a lag created by low interoperability as regular electronic notification of patients’ interactions with other organization hasn’t caught on. Approximately 64% of Norwegian doctors regularly access clinical data of patients seen by other health clinics, so there is a significant need for improvement.
Electronic Orders to Labs
About 68% of the physicians surveyed stated that they sent e-order requests to laboratories on a regular basis. This follows a global trend to streamline medical functions to provide better service to patients.
With Big Data and a lot of sensitive information floating around, regulatory requirements and privacy compliance will be paramount. As a result, you can expect to hear more about the difficulties to build mobile health apps that comply with various EU privacy laws.
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Mobile healthcare in Norway provides patients with three key benefits. With the help of healthcare IT, Norwegian patients can now access their medical information online, make or cancel an appointment, and request prescription refills. Increased use of EMR has had a direct impact on doctor patient communication, engagement, understanding of their situation, accuracy of record, and patient satisfaction.
Other factors that will drive the mobile health revolution are Norway’s increasingly aging population (and the lack of medical professionals to handle it) and the rising cost of healthcare in the region. As health related costs rise, medical professionals have to come up with creative methods to keep costs down.
Other factors driving mobile health adoption are as follows:
- Society is familiar with using smartphones to access a range of services
- Successful field trials using sensors
- Home-based healthcare (with remote monitoring, Norway can save €1.5 billion annually)
And what is your opinion on the impact of mobile technology in Norway and the rest of Scandinavia?