National dissemination of telemedicine has launched
Municipalities, regions and state have now launched nationwide dissemination of telemedicine for patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). The national dissemination is expected to increase welfare for COPD-patients; however, it is a demanding challenge to make data, organization, technology and logistics come together.
Telemedicine allows patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to manage the measuring of blood pressure, weight and oxygenation in their own home. Health professionals in the municipalities can monitor the measurements and take action, if the measurements display a worsening of the patient’s condition. Thus, unnecessary hospitalization can be avoided.
In the fall of 2015 the Danish Government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions agreed that telemedicine should be provided nationwide to all relevant patients with COPD. Best practices from two large-scale projects cleared the way for the political agreement, and on the 12th of February 2016 representatives from municipalities, regions and central government met to kick off the practical stage of the nationwide dissemination of telemedicine.
Learn more about TeleCare Nord, one of the large scale projects
Best practices with telemedicine
Experiences from TeleCare Nord, particularly, show that telemedicine increases the welfare of patients with COPD. Patients experience a sense of increased security and freedom, and they are able to act independently and proactive in response to any worsening of their condition. Impairments are discovered earlier, and hence emergency hospitalizations can be avoided. This is a gain for patients as hospitalizations are both straining and exhausting. Furthermore, it is a gain for society since hospitalizations are expensive.
Learn more about patients experiences with telemedicine
National governance of the nationwide dissemination of telemedicine
The nationwide dissemination is organized in five nation sub-programs - one for each region with the associated municipalities. Each sub-program is responsible for disseminating telemedicine to COPD patients in their part of the country. The programs will work to develop new procedures and new forms of cooperation to achieve the goal of offering telemedicine to all relevant COPD patients by 2019.
Better data, technology and logistics
A series of preconditions are crucial for a successful, nationwide implementation of telemedicine. For instance, the national IT infrastructure has to enable data transfers from patients to the health professionals, and solutions for delivery of equipment and technical assistance to the patients have to be established.
A public steering committee is responsible for establishing the preconditions for nationwide dissemination. The steering committee will monitor the development and support knowledge sharing across the country. The steering committee will be serviced by a secretariat with participants from several project partners, which will be established under the Danish Agency for Digitization. From 2016 an amount of 47 million DKK of central government funding has been reserved to support the dissemination.
Telemedicine as an integral part of treatment
The nationwide dissemination of telemedicine for patients with COPD will make telemedicine an integral part of the Danish health care system. The vision of the Danish Government is to increase focus on prevention and treatment near the citizens. Telemedicine is an essential part of this strategy, since new hospitals, which are currently being built, will focus more on specialized treatment and have less capacity.