Background National dissemination of telemedicine for patients with COPD

In February 2016, the national dissemination of telemedicine for patients with COPD was launched. Local Government Denmark, Danish Regions and the Danish Government are facing a challenging task, which requires that organization, data, logistics and patient training come together.

Telemedicine for patients with COPD means that patients can perform measurements of e.g. weight, pulse and oxygen saturation in their own home. Health professionals in the municipalities monitor the data and make sure to react quickly, if the measurements show deterioration in the patient’s condition. In this way emergency hospitalizations can be avoided.

In the fall of 2015, the Danish Government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions reached an agreement saying that telemedicine should be offered to all relevant patients with COPD nationwide by the end of 2019.

Positive experiences from two large-scale projects, TeleCare North and Clinically Integrated Home Monitoring, paved the way for the political agreement. The 12th of February 2016 the people in charge of the dissemination, from municipals, regions and state, met and launched the practical part of the dissemination.

Positive experiences with telemedicine

Experiences from especially TeleCare North show that telemedicine for patients with COPD increases quality of life, since the patients experience increased safety, freedom and have become capable of acting on deteriorations in their condition themselves.

Furthermore, deteriorations in the patients’ conditions are discovered earlier. Owing to this, urgent hospitalizations, which are both exhausting for the patients and costly for society, can be avoided. Also the patients with telemedicine can be discharged earlier.

Read more about the experiences from TeleCare North

Organization of the dissemination

The national dissemination is organized in five regional programs – one for each of the regions with affiliated municipals. Each regional program is responsible for the dissemination of telemedicine to patients with COPD in their region.

The regional programs are in charge of changing the current work procedures and developing new working procedures and methods. A central task is the elaboration of a concrete division of tasks and responsibilities between municipals, hospitals and the general practitioners.

Keeping track of data, technology and logistics

A number of preconditions are essential for a successful dissemination of telemedicine. Amongst other things, the national it-infrastructure needs to be ready, so data can flow smoothly from the patients to relevant health personnel. At the same time, a solution on how to deliver equipment and technical support to the patients’ needs to be established.

Joint portfolio steering committee gathers the threads

To ensure the preconditions for the national dissemination and the dissemination across the different regions, a joint portfolio steering committee has been established. The steering committee will follow up on the progress of the dissemination and support knowledge sharing across the country. To support this, a joint public secretariat has been established in the Danish Agency of Digitalization.

By 2016, around 6,6 million euro has been devoted to the dissemination on the national budget.