Through its eHealth portal Denmark leads the way in digital care, cutting costs and speeding up healthcare.
The initiative to establish the eHealth portal, Sundhed.dk, was taken by the Association of County Councils in Denmark, the Ministry of Interior and Health and others back in 2001. It was developed as the result of a project competition (EU open procedure).
The purpose of the portal is to bring together relevant information from all parts of the health service, offer a shared platform of communication, empower patients by offering maximum insight and transparency in the healthcare sector and to offer health care providers easy access to clinical information about their patients’ medical histories. The portal is unique in bringing the entire Danish healthcare sector together on the Internet and providing an accessible setting for citizens and healthcare professionals to meet and efficiently exchange information. The initiative has received several awards and has gained a lot of recognition from other countries around the world.
Most medical practitioners and facilities in the country are linked by electronic networks and Danish citizens have access to their own medical data. Patients may communicate and patients and their families can get an overview of correct and updated health care information, making the health care services appear close-by, open and familiar. In addition, every citizen has his own personal page, available upon identification, which reflects the specific situation of this particular citizen. The citizen can find accurate and updated healthcare information, e.g. view treatments and diagnoses from his or her own hospital patient records, book appointments with his or her general practitioner, renew prescription drugs, monitor own drug compliance, survey shortest waiting lists for operations and quality ratings of hospitals, register as an organ donor, and get access to local disease management systems in out-patient clinics.
Health professionals can also log on and gain secure and controlled access to personal data for patients they are actively treating. By servicing both citizens and health professionals, the portal enables the two to achieve a cooperation based on the same data. This empowers the citizen and gives the health professionals better tools to improve quality of care.
A shift in use
In 2009 the eHealth portal was upgraded and re-launched on a new technical platform. A general shift was noted in the citizens’ use of the portal during 2010. The share of total page views presented to a citizen logged on increased to about 45%, sometimes even more. In January 2013 the portal set a new record for the number of users, 800 000 users per month.
“Sundhed.dk has had a really good start in 2013 and we hope this will continue for the rest of the year. 2013 means a new strategy period where we will, among other things, focus on developing user access to personal data and improving our services, for example for users using mobile units for searching for information,” says Bent Hansen, President of the Board at Sundhed.dk.