eHealth – a tool for more equal health

Posted on: 21.09.2017

In anticipation of the Swedish Ministerial participation in eHealth Tallinn 2017, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has published a new blog post about Swedish eHealth: 

The Swedish eHealth experience is very dual. On the one hand we have come a long way. We have one of the highest percentages of internet users in the world and we have given birth to start-ups that have become global brands, e.g. Spotify and Skype. This is also true of Sweden’s health care sector where close to 100 per cent of patient records are digitised and 99 per cent of the prescriptions are done electronically.

What are the missed opportunities in the Swedish health care sector?

On the other hand we can see that the Swedish health care sector does not fully utilise the opportunities offered by digitisation. We still have problems when it comes to e.g. information sharing between care givers and non-user-friendly systems. Taken a patient safety perspective this may pose problems because information may be missing when a patient visits a new care giver. The reason behind this problem may be that we still live in a world where we believe that health care is given “the old fashioned” way: the patient contacts a healthcare provider via telephone, they get a visit at a doctor who is stationed at a hospital or primary health care center, an intervention takes place and the patient gets well. However, we have a changing disease panorama with more patients with chronic diseases that visit many different care givers during their life time. Different digital solutions give us plenty of opportunities to meet these patients the way that best suits them.

Moving from the “old fashioned” way of seeing healthcare

What should be added here is that there is no one-size-fit-all when it comes to patients. In the best of worlds there should be the opportunity to communicate with the help of eHealth solutions, but also opportunities to meet e.g. a district nurse in place.

Our wish to improve healthcare

To sum up, Sweden has many challenges ahead of us but by making digital tools available that support actions tailored to the users’, clients’ and patients’ individual needs, digitisation can make it easier for the services to work for increased equality. We look forward to continuous cooperation on the EU-level to both share our knowledge and learn best practice from our fellow EU-countries. 

Swedish Ministry of Health