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Sundhed- ICT as an enabler of Innovation

Author: Louise Pulford
Published Date: 22 February 2010

One of the best examples of ICT as an enabler of innovation is Sundhed, the Danish eHealth portal. Sundhed brings the public Danish Healthcare Services together on the Internet. This makes it possible for patients, their families and healthcare professionals alike to access information and to communicate with each other.

One of the best examples of ICT as an enabler of innovation is Sundhed, the Danish eHealth portal. Sundhed was launched in 2001 by the Association of County Councils in Denmark, the Ministries of the Interior and Health (now Ministry of Health and Prevention), Greater Copenhagen Hospital Board, Copenhagen Municipal Authority, and Frederiksberg Municipal Authority. It is part of the broader National Strategy for Digitalisation of the Danish Healthcare Service.

The portal brings together health information and online health services in one place, with personalised features for citizens over the age of 15. Patient services include health related information and advice, online booking facilities, prescription renewal, ordering prescriptions online, online consultations with health professionals and access to personal medical files. For healthcare professionals, services include online access to the patient appointment calendar, laboratory data, patient records, waiting list information from hospitals and so on.

Evaluations of the portal show that roughly one third of users seeking information and advice on their health through Sundhed are reassured and choose to delay or not book a visit to their GP. This has led to a net saving of roughly 900,000 consultations with GPs every year. The introduction of electronic prescriptions has also led to annual savings of more than €12 million. This represents a significant saving when compared to the €5 million cost of running the portal.

In addition, 70-80% of health professionals claim that patient access to health information and professionals has improved co-responsibility, self care and resulted in higher levels of patient satisfaction. In terms of privacy, evaluations show that 91% of users consider that their personal information is safe as a result of the security measures used by the portal.