Real strides and advances are being made when it comes to improving the many ways patients engage and participate in managing their health online. As is often the case, technology and channels are not the real obstacles to progress; getting the many opinionated stakeholders to agree on a common approach and a unified strategy pose much greater challenges. Is it utopian to think that the many dots can be successfully joined up? The Danish public health portal “sundhed.dk” (“health.dk”) is one case where this has been done.
Denmark has been pioneering many IT initiatives within health services. The majority of these initiatives are based on a common infrastructure, which has helped put Denmark in pole position and created a patient-centric health sector.
Sundhed.dk was launched in 2003 and is a public, internet-based portal that collects and distributes health care information among citizens and health care professionals. It is unique in bringing the entire Danish health care sector together on the Internet and providing an accessible setting for citizens and health care professionals to meet and efficiently exchange information.
All Danish citizens have access to sundhed.dk and everyone has a personal page, which reflects the specific situation of the individual. The citizen can find accurate and updated health care information, e.g. view treatments and diagnoses from his own hospital patient record, book appointments with his GP, renew prescription drugs, monitor own drug compliance, survey shortest waiting lists for operations and quality ratings of hospitals, register as 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 regarding patients they are actively treating.
We have invited Margrethe Harbo, who heads up the content management department at sundhed.dk to share her experience with getting this pioneering project off the ground. How did they get the clinicians onboard initially? And how did they get the Danes to buy into the initiative? Who were the early adopters and what has been learnt and modified over the last 8 years.
Margrethe will moreover take part in a panel discussion around the issue of trust in online health – all at the online health track on Thursday 5th May.